LLG factions vote in 2 presidents

National, Normal

The National, Monday 30th January 2012

THE tussle over the South Wiru LLG president’s post province is far from over.
Last Wednesday, 23 councillors met in Mendi to re-elect Joseph Kunukunu as president. The following day, another group of 17 councillors met at the Ialibu district office to elect Wambi Nondi as president in the Pangia district of Southern Highlands
With 34 council wards in the area, four were declared failed elections leaving only 30 eligible to vote.
Both factions now claim they have the majority and the legitimate president.
In August 2008, Kunukunu and Nondi were both voted in as presidents in two separate meetings.
The matter was challenged in the national court in Mt Hagen which ruled on Jan 12 that there was a vacancy in the president’s seat and a new election should be conducted in accordance with the LLG Administration Act 1997, and standing orders.
Presiding judge Justice Collin Makail found there were serious breaches of the law and neither man was entitled to be declared as president.
The court nullified the election of Kunukunu and refused to recognise Nondi as president. But Nondi sought an alternative relief, which was to elect a new president.
Justice Makail found it appropriate in the circumstances.
Upon the court directives, one faction of 21 councillors and two women representatives, in a special general meeting and the LLG’s sixth meeting in three years, re-elected Kunukunu in Mendi last Thursday.
That was witnessed by Mendi district court clerk and commissioner of oaths Kapa Dilini, provincial legal officer Peter Sapu, deputy governor and Karinz LLG president Kengel Olpa, and members of the police force.
The meeting was chaired by deputy president Joe Pere Tikili, who they claimed was authorised to do so.
The other faction of 17 councillors met the following day, Thursday, during an inaugural meeting to re-elect Nondi.
Nongi’s election was witnessed by provincial and LLG adviser Timon Ombiolu, a level five court magistrate, provincial assembly director Leo Valli, district administrator Pius Puk and deputy Samson Were, district affairs officer Steven Tope, district administration officer Nickson Kanema, senior LLG officer Michael Ariando, police and the general public.
This faction claims it has the majority of 17 councillors duly elected and recognised by the Electoral Commission.
They are claiming they had followed appropriate laws, while the election of Kunukunu did not have the district administrator conducting the meeting, and they had brought in seven self-appointed councillors and two women representatives.
They claimed Dilini did not have the power to sign as a commissioner of oaths.
Kunukunu said the meeting held by Nondi was not valid, as they (Nondi and the other councillors) had failed to attend the LLG’s special general meeting although they had been notified.