Police consulted over polling: Sinai

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ELECTORAL Commissioner Simon Sinai says that polling in the Highlands is being organised in consultation with the police.
Polling in Hela is today, July 4, Enga on July 7, Southern Highlands on July 11, Western Highlands and Jiwaka on July 13 and Chimbu on July 15.
He said it was organised after consulting the police “because election cannot be run without the police”.
“We met with the Police Commissioner David Manning and agreed that we should work on a schedule in that order because there will be (movements of polling officials) from one province to another,” he said.
“All the provinces are ready, but it’s the police who need to move (too).
“That’s why we have these two days spacing (between) one province (and) another.”
Polling in Southern, New Guinea Islands and Momase regions will start today, July 4, as scheduled.
“Those (facing) difficulties in (the) late arrival of materials can always (conduct polling) on July 5 and 6,” he added.
“But make sure to conduct awareness to the people on the reasons for the deferral.”
Sinai said they were working on a “more efficient and effective way” to conduct the counting of votes to avoid the problems encountered in past general elections.
“The (general) election is a big operation and it takes some (good) people to do these things.
“If people understand the directions and instructions correctly, they will make it.
“But if they don’t, that’s when we face issues,” Sinai said.

EC confirms only K250mil received for election

THE Electoral Commission (EC) received only K250 million of the K460 million it requested to conduct the General Election 2022 (GE22), says Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai.
Sinai said the money received was spent mostly on election materials already being distributed to the provinces.
He also explained the reason behind the delay in the release of the polling schedule.
“The delay in the issuing of the polling schedule is because I want the polling to be completed by July 11 and not beyond,” he said.
The other reason for the delay is about paying the allowances for around 50,000 polling officials.
“We are engaging more than 50,000 officials and we have to ensure that they are all paid,” he said.
Sinai said polling in all provinces should end around July 11, except for Eastern Highlands (July 12) and Chimbu (July 18).
Sinai said the counting process was often delayed by the election officials’ allowance issue.
“We are aware of it and we are working to manage those areas.
“Payments are done through the bank accounts of 6,000 to 7,000 council wards,” he said.
“(Some) people use third party account numbers while (others do not have any bank) account.
“That’s the reason for the delay in Morobe, East Sepik and West Sepik.”

Soldiers in Madang warned not to drink alcohol, socialise

Soldiers arriving for security operations in Madang last Wednesday. – Picture supplied

SOLDIERS deployed to Madang last week for General Election 2022 (GE22) duties have been warned to conduct themselves in a professional manner while on duty and to stay away from alcohol.
Papua New Guinea Defence Force taskforce group two Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Isidore Tobias said those caught drinking or socialising would face disciplinary action.
“There will be no room for soldiers caught drinking beer and fraternising (during the) operation,” he said.
“If you are (caught) drinking in this place, you will be charged on the spot.”
Tobias warned the soldiers to conduct themselves in a professional manner as they were representing the defence force.
He reminded them too that they were there to support the police-led security operation in Madang.
Group Regimental Sergeant-Major Chief Warrant Officer Selastine Takendu warned the soldiers to abide by the rules of engagement and follow the right channel when faced with a pressing issue.
The 34 soldiers, led by Lieutenant Eric Maruha and assisted by Sergeant Winung Unga, are staying in a motel in Madang town.

Parties commended for well-organised rallies

Emmanuel Pok

AN official has praised the way the major political parties had organised and conducted the nomination of candidates and campaigns for the General Election 2022 (GE22).
Emmanuel Pok, the acting registrar of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission, commended how the election rallies had been well organised with fewer roadside campaigns.
“The political parties prepared themselves well in strategising how to approach the campaign with their merchandise and posters,” he said.
“We are very happy with the leaders of the political parties (who went out) to campaign for (male and female) candidates.
“They did a good job on their candidates.
‘This is one of the things the registry of political parties had been working on with political parties after the 2012 general election.”
He said supporters of candidates organised rallies by setting standards on the ground, enabling their leaders to campaign effectively.
“That really satisfied the registry of political parties because we now have the results of the time and resources we invested into strengthening political parties in the past 10 years,” he said.
“We built the capacity of the party executives, teaching them how to manage the parties, screen candidates, nominate them, and how to brand their political parties in their campaign.
“We are satisfied with the outcome.”