No cops for polls in rural areas

National, Normal

The National, Friday 14th June 2013


LOCAL level government elections in most rural parts of Morobe will be conducted without the presence of police, according to an official.

Morobe law and order chairman Peter Namus told The National that this was due to funding constraints and lack of road access to most of the 37 LLGs in the province. 

“The provincial government had given K2 million to the Electoral Commission officials in the province to run the LLG elections but that is not enough,” he said.

“Police operations are included in that K2 million. That is not enough because helicopters and boats are expensive to hire.”

Namus said up to 70% of Morobe was not connected by road and previous elections had shown that transporting election materials and officials including security officials was a problem.

Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen last month revealed that the commission would be running the LLG elections below their budget. 

“My LLG in Wampar has noticed this problem and has given K20,000 extra to the EC to cover all the wards in the area,” Namus, who is defending his seat as the Wampar LLG president, said.

However, he said that despite the absence of police in most remote LLGs, he was optimistic that the elections would be conducted peacefully like in the past.

“Morobeans are generally peaceful people and I don’t see any reason why they would resort to violence,” Namus said.

But, he said the Lae urban and Ahi LLGs elections would be monitored by the police because of recent ethnic violence and criminal activities.