Western Highlands NGO calls for a fair election

National, Normal

The National Thursday, 26th January 2012

UPNG journalism student

A WESTERN Highlands-based non-governmental organisation has called on the people of Papua New Guinea to give women a chance to freely cast their votes in the coming general election.
Guidance-PNG, which advocates for a fair, free and violence-free election, said women were not given an opportunity to vote freely in previous elections for the candidate of their choice.
It said because of socio-cultural norms, most decisions in the society such as voting, were done by men.
Women are forced to follow their decision.
Chairman Ken Fua said the election must be free and fair for women and disabled people so they could freely vote for whoever they wanted without
any intimidation.
“We are concerned about our women because over the years their rights to vote and freedom have been deprived by males and we don’t want it to happen again in this election,” he
He said for a free and fair election, “people in the highlands must do away with weapons and guns as these will not bring any good result to the election and the voters”.
Fua claimed the number of voters in each electoral boundary in the nation had fallen and urged the Electoral Commission to investigate it.
“There needs to an update and review on the common roll because in our view, there are lot of misleading information in the data,” he said.
He said one example was in the Hagen central electorate, which was short of enrolment forms for new eligible voters because most forms had gone missing from the provincial electoral office.
He claimed many councillors from the electorate were still waiting for enrolment forms from the provincial electoral office to register
voters in their council wards.
He said the same problem was
being faced by other provinces and districts and urged Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to review the common roll update before the election.
He said the failure to address the issue by the Electoral Commission and other relevant authorities would result in a violent and unfair election.