Nonggorr blasts candidates, officials

National, Normal


ELECTORAL Commission lawyer Prof John Nonggorr has accused election officials and candidates of sabotaging the Kandep by-election by failing to advise voters to do the right thing and by interfering in the Common Roll updating process.
Prof Nonggorr said candidates should direct voters along the path of a free and fair election.
By doing so, he said, they would portray leadership qualities.
He said Election Commission officers and others had mismanaged the process to update the electoral roll.
“Political parties are also interfering in this process,” he told a forum organised by the PNG Electoral Commission to find ways to improve the electoral roll.
Prof Nonggorr, who has worked with the Electoral Commission for the last 15 years, believes a new system is not the solution.
What was needed, he said, was a change in attitude and behaviour.
Pointing to the violence in Kandep, he said no new system would work unless tribal conflicts and other such issues were resolved.
He noted that law enforcement had been lax.
“If these problems are not addressed, any new measure being considered, such as identification cards or bio-metric identification systems, will not work,” he said.
Transparency International (PNG) director Richard Kassman said that in PNG, some leaders were selected through birthright.
“Traditional values, rights, processes that are built on larger tribal domination and relationship influences is at odds with the individual constitutional right of a minor traditional villager,” he said.
“Their individual right to vote for a leader goes against the dominant community view on who that leader should be.”
The forum, based on the theme “Strengthening and protecting democracy in PNG”, aimed to gather views from stakeholders on how to improve the electoral roll.
Among the main issues are the proposed introduction of a voter identification card and biometrics system where voters are registered through their fingerprint.