Pastor: Non-payment of allowances ‘a lame excuse’

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 05th July, 2012

NATIONAL Capital District provincial seat candidate Pastor Daniel Hewali has condemned the delay in counting, saying the non-payment of allowances for polling officials was a lame excuse.
Hewali said the prolonged delay could lead to greater manipulation of the electoral process. 
He is urging Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to proceed with the counting and let the people know who their leaders are.
He said the commission had been funded to cater for such logistics and should not have a problem in paying allowances to polling officials.
Hewali, who is contesting under the PNG Labour Party banner, said the electoral commission had done what it was mandated to do but should not prolong the delay over logistical problems.
“I disagree with the negative talks by certain candidates in NCD of the PNGEC delivering a failed election,” he said.
“Logistics should not be the reason for the delay as it places a risk of manipulation of ballot papers and boxes.
“I call on Commissioner Trawen to proceed with counting for NCD.” 
He said there was no excuse for NCD while Southern Highlands province and other provinces had gone well into their counting without allowance woes. 
He wants the electoral commission to consider counting during the day using the electronic counting system.
He is calling on Trawen and the police to ensure no private security officers join the police and defence force personnel on security duties. 
He claimed there were incidences of security forces intimidating scrutineers at polling sites.
He said some private security officers were in police uniforms at polling and counting sites.