The National, Thursday 02nd August, 2012
THE total number of eligible votes contained in the seven disputed boxes for Nipa-Kutubu, produced by losing candidates yesterday, was more than the 5,632 figure said to be stripped by the Electoral Commission before declaring Pesab Jeffrey Komal as the member-elect on Tuesday.
Records of the count kept by various scrutineers and election officials for primary votes alone totalled 9,847.
“It is evident that the secondary votes for the eliminated candidates were not reflected in neither the commission’s 5,632 figures said to have been stripped nor the 9,847 primary votes,” losing candidates said in a joint statement yesterday.
“If figures from the primary votes had been removed, the standings before the eliminations would have seen sitting (outgoing) MP Philemon Embel leading with 13,641 votes, followed by Steven Andayo on 13,580, Tony Kila 11,753 and Komal trailing on 11,326.
“But because Komal’s primary votes from the disputed boxes were not removed, he kept on leading until the end.
“If the secondary votes from the disputed boxes were also removed, the scenario would have been totally different.”
They claimed Komal, who is a member of Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party, would have been the fourth person to be eliminated if the disputed figures had been stripped from the start.
When contacted yesterday afternoon, candidate Kila said he shared the other candidates’ view and thought something was not right.
“The figures supplied are incorrect and someone is covering up for something.”
He said the commission’s slogan for “a free and fair election” was not reflected in the Nipa-Kutubu election.
“The people and the voters did not fail the ‘free and fair election’ slogan in Nipa-Kutubu. It was the electoral commissioner and his provincial election manager,” Kila said.
He alleged that no quality check was carried out in Nipa-Kutubu after the primary count.
“In the 2007 general election, Embel won by 18,000 votes. The figure now in 2012 is 32,000.Where did all these extra voters come from?”
Kila said they were considering the options available to them to seek redress on the issue.
“Our primary concern is to recoup our election costs that had resulted from a bad decision, even if it means taking the Southern Highlands provincial election manager David Wakias and Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to court.
“There is a lot of unanswered questions in this whole Nipa-Kutubu exercise, and we will exhaust our resources to have them answered.”