Leaders want explanation

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012

COMMUNITY leaders in Nipa and Kutubu, Southern Highlands, have again called on Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to fully explain in public the process used in coming up with the final election figures to declare Pesab Jeffrey Komal as their member elect.
Moran and Kutubu community leader John Pipi said after seven ballot boxes were disputed, and Trawen’s four separate letters directing returning officer John Harisol not to count the disputed boxes, people throughout the electorate had expected the commission to rule for a recount or a failed election.
“However, Trawen had gone ahead and declared a candidate even after his instructions were not followed.”
Pipi said a closer look would have shown that the figures stripped did not correspond to those contained in the disputed boxes.
“Trawen must be blind not to see that he had been conned into accepting a decision that will not hold ground.”
He said a decision for a recount or a failed election would have been in everyone’s favour.
“The declaration of Komal was done under questionable circumstances.”
Pipi said the stripping of the disputed votes was allegedly done behind closed doors by a few selected officials, and it had brought into question the issue of transparency.
According to candidates Tony Kila and Philemon Embel, who finished third and second in the Nipa-Kutubu race, none of their campaign officials or scrutineers were invited to witness how the votes from the seven disputed boxes were removed from the final tally.
“We will support our leaders to go to court and have the Nipa-Kutubu election declared failed,” Pipi said.