Moves afoot to challenge Pato’s election

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 26th, 2012

WAPENAMANDA’S new MP has been declared in United Party leader and prominent lawyer Rimbink Pato.
Before he takes his seat in parliament, however, moves are afoot to contest the legality of the elections which just declared him MP.
One such move will come from a veteran campaigner like Pato himself, one Saka Ben Wia – a Port Moresby-based businessman.
Wia’s main contention is directed not at Pato but at another candidate and the electoral process which he claims has denied his base voters free and fair elections.
The 50-something year old Wia has been running for elections for the same seat since 1987 and was this year one of 33 candidates for Wapenamanda.
At every one of these previous elections the polling stations were located at a certain location in the Tsak valley called Tagaimanda. Tagaimanda was gazetted as the polling site for 2012 elections as well but on June 27th, the day of polling Wia claims the polling team advanced past this polling station in a vehicle that belonged to another candidate.
Wia followed the vehicle in his own vehicle until it entered a private area which in Wia’s statement is said to be the private residential area of the candidate.
Wia claims his people were prevented from entering this place to vote and only selected people were allowed near the polling station.
Wia’s statement has been sent to the PNG Electoral Commission and the police.
All matters of this nature have been referred by both the Electoral Commissioner and the courts to be handled by the court of disputed returns after the elections are over.