The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013
By ZACHERY PER
COMMUNITY leaders in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, have applauded the Electoral Commission for reviving a former polling booth in the Mambu market settlement.
Spokesman Mathew Merimba commended provincial election manager Janet Ruben for separating the settlers from the Lopi polling booth after last week’s violence at the Goroka town polling area.
Merimba said they were assured the polling booth would become a permanent venue for future national and local level government elections.
‘For the last 15 years, were suppressed to vote at Lopi. The outcome of a meeting with the election manager has been very good for us to revert to our original polling venue,” he said.
Another community leader, Manaseh Siane said the Mambu polling booth was one of the original venues use in past elections.
He said voters in the Mambu settlement could now express their democratic rights by casting votes for their candidates without being harassed and intimidated.
“We are grateful for the relocation of the abandoned ‘end of the Goroka airport off-cut’ polling venue to allow settlers from Mambu, Crusher, Banana Block, Council Camp and SP Compound to cast votes,” Sinae said.
Ruben made the decision after an early morning fight between voters and supporters of candidates from the settlements and Lopi area that forced her to suspend polling last week.
She said the venue was recognised by the Electoral Commission to give voters the opportunity to cast their votes.
Voters from the settlements hailed the decision, saying they had been harassed and intimidated for the last 15 years when voting at Lopi.