The National, Monday July 9th, 2012
POLLING officers in Nebilyer, Western Highlands province, refused to hand in their returns to the Electoral Commission last Friday.
They want adjustments to their allowances before they cooperate with the commission.
Of the 86 people engaged by the commission in the Tambul-Nebilyer electorate to conduct polling, 34 in Nebilyer are planning to halt counting until their allowances are increased.
They have threatened to withdraw their contract with the commission so that fresh elections are
conducted in Nebilyer.
The commission had committed K57 per day for presiding officers, K55 for assistant presiding officers, polling clerks K35, and door and box keepers K33 per day.
They signed a five-day contract but say the money reportedly paid to them last Friday was not enough and they want more.
They said they would boycott counting if their allowances were not adjusted because they were key players in ensuring safe and fair polling in the tribal war-torn district.
Spokesmen, Jacob Tura and James Kange, both from Paipikola, in lower Nebillyer, said they did not get risk and meal allowances.
They said they had argued with voters and had ensured the ballot boxes were safe although disputes and fighting had broken out in many polling areas.
They said it was not fair to be paid less than the officers who were engaged in carrying out the recent common roll update exercise.
They will front up at the electoral office in Mt Hagen today to negotiate their increase.
Kange said if a favourable response was not given, they would not hand in their returns and stall counting of the Nebillyer ballot boxes.
Attempts to get comments from provincial election manager Philip Telape were unsuccessful last Friday and Saturday.