Kobol’s petition deferred


An election petition challenging the declaration of the Southern Highlands Governor William Powi was yesterday postponed until Wednesday for a directional hearing at the Waigani National Court.
It was filed by runner-up for the regional seat Joseph Kobol who is seeking the court’s determination of the processes that was used by the Electoral Commission to declare Powi governor.
The petition raises grounds of errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission during the counting process and also the declaration of Powi on Sept 29 in Port Moresby.
The petition alleges that the total number of ballots counted for the seat was 378,530 and the 50 per cent-plus absolute majority was 189,266 votes.
Leading candidate Powi polled 105,840 votes and the runner-up candidate was on 79,052 when a declaration was made.
The petition alleges that the absolute majority was not reached when the declaration was made by the Electoral Commissioner in Port Moresby.
Meanwhile, there was a protest march in Mendi this week against Powi’s leadership but the governor said: “What are the minority Mendi town-based leaders looking for and demanding for? I condemn the actions of few self-proclaimed community leaders on Mendi town for holding State institutions such as the Agiru Centre and other government offices and the people of Southern Highlands at ransom.
“We, the Southern Highlanders, are peace-loving people. I’m calling on police to bring them to justice.”
On Tuesday, youths in Mendi petitioned the government to address their concerns before they released the keys to the Agiru Centre.
The centre remained locked following the declaration of Powi and that has prevented public servants from entering their offices and carrying out their normal duties.
Acting provincial administrator Thomas Eluh, police commander Chief Supt Joseph Tondop and members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force witnessed the youths delivering their petition at the Mendi Police Station.
Youth representative Robert Poso said: “All these chaos is related to the election and we had enough of all this. We want to start fresh.”
Eluh, while receiving the petition, thanked the youths for raising their concern in a peaceful manner.