MP warns of recurring poll hiccups

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MEMBER for Wewak Dr Moses Manwau has warned of serious problems in next year’s general election unless steps are taken now to address them.
Manwau, who claimed to be a victim of election fraud, said the Electoral Commission (EC) must take steps to rectify the problems exposed in the court of disputed returns.
He claimed that election officials were responsible for some, if not most, of the election problems in the past, saying polling officials tended to favour only certain candidates.
“The issue of bribery is unavoidable as shown by the number of cases filed by losing candidates in the court of dispute returns,” he said.
“Many losing candidates who disputed the results in court mentioned that bribery among candidates and election officials were the cause of the unfavourable election results.”
Manwau also called on Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to publicly apologise for a statement he made in the media against him.
“Trawen must not make a mention of my case, as I have won that case against him and the former member,” he said.
“I was a victim of election fraud and it took me four years and hundreds of kina, my personal savings, to correct that.
“He owes me an apology and should not tarnish my name in the media.
“I have a limited time to deliver to my people in the electorate and such statements, especially those by the electoral commissioner, do not help but continue to paint a negative picture of me as the member of the electorate I represent.”
Meanwhile, Trawen said he did not know why Manwau continued to attack the EC in the media regarding his recent win in an election petition.
“I do not know what I have said in the media that was unfounded and requires an apology, apart from stating the obvious that the Supreme Court has recently declared Manwau the duly elected member of parliament for Wewak open after hearing a slip rule application.”
On the issue of Manwau’s legal costs, Trawen said there were processes under the election petition proceedings wherein he could claim costs against the Electoral Commission.
He said all other successful petitioners had used them.
“Manwau has not submitted his bill of costs to the Electoral Commission and, therefore, the commission does not know what the member means on the issue of fraud,” Trawen said.
 “The Supreme Court has not made any findings of fraud against any personnel of the EC, therefore, such claims of fraud by Manwau are unfounded.
“Manwau should read the petition and the court decision to show to us where he has succeeded on a ground of fraud.”
He said Manwau should report to police any allegations of fraud, adding that bribery by candidates, or their supporters, on voters or electoral officials, if true, was beyond the control of the Electoral Commission.