By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
NEW Moresby North-West MP Samuel Boe Lohia vows to do his best to improve services for his Motu Koitabu people, although there are only eight months left in this term of parliament to do it.
“Motu Koitabu issues are so huge and outstanding,” he said after he was declared the winner yesterday of the 42 candidates.
“The remaining eight months of this parliament term is not enough to solve it. We have issues like land grabbing, land encroachment, water issues. I will talk to Prime Minister James Marape for a plan to address these issues.”
Lohia, from Hanuabada village in the National Capital District, won by 25,185 votes, beating his closest rival Joseph Tonde who polled 12,201.
He becomes the second from Motu-Koitabu to win the seat, after the late Mahuru Rarua who won it in 1982.
The seat was left vacant after the 2017 general election winner Sir Mekere Morauta passed away late last year.
Lohia dedicated his win to the “long-suffering Motu Koitabu people” and the 25,000 people who voted for him.
“It is a big responsibility to carry on from where the late Sir Mekere Morauta had left, but I know that I am prepared for this mission,” he said.
“I will not let my people down.”
He collected about 7,000 votes, from the 10,000 people registered in the Motui-Koitabu villages of Hanuabada, Tatana and Baruni.
He said he was accused of rigging the votes from the villagers, although a quality check by election officials proved otherwise.
“Candidates don’t understand that these villagers will take you in, hug you, but (not all) will vote for you. It is just the way it is,” he said.
He thanked Motu-Koitabu leader Russell Simon for stepping down from contesting the by-election.
“Because of such unity, the entire Motu-Koitabu villagers showed their support for me,” he said.
He also thanked the people living in Waigani, Gerehu, Hohola, Tokarara, June Valley and Morata who voted for him.
“I collected 10,000 votes in the primary count bringing the total to 17,000. I thank the 8,000 people who gave me their second preference vote which brought us up to 25,000.
“So thank you to the people of North-West for giving me the mandate. I will not let you down.”
He dedicated the win to his late father who passed away in April. Pangu Pati led by Marape now has 31 MPs on Government benches.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK