The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By NEVILLE TOGAREWA – CS1 media
THE people of Daga, in Milne Bay’s most rugged, isolated, least developed and landlocked highlands hinterland, have made history in the 2013 local level government polls by electing their president without having to go through the elimination process.
Daga assistant returning officer Gregory Tonamatagara, after consulting provincial election manager and returning officer Dadu Daga, declared Sylvester Gwarimaia as the elected president after completion of the counting of the primary votes because there was no need to proceed to the eliminations to determine the winner.
Gwarimaia polled 1,387 votes, 105 more than the required absolute majority of 1,282 votes. The runner-up was Peter Mamuki, who polled 510 votes, 897 less than Gwarimaia.
Gwarimaia beat six candidates who had contested the president’s seat, including former president Romney Daudau, who came last, scoring a disappointing 58 votes. A total of 2,563 people cast their votes, out of more than 3,000 registered eligible voters.
Gwarimaia is a former officer with the Auditor-General’s Office in Port Moresby and is a local businessman operating several PMVs, serving the people between Alotau and Mariawata, in Suau RLLG.
Milne Bay created history by completing polling for the 15 RLLGs and Alotau Urban government in 16 days on July 22, 18 days ahead of the scheduled date of close of polling on August 9. Polling started on July 6.
In addition, winner of West Fergusson RLLG seat, Matthew Magioudi was the first candidate to be declared president in the Southern region, Daga said.