By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae
Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, has instructed all election managers not to accept any more local level government candidate nominations.
This is in accordance with Supreme Court orders handed down this morning at about the same time as writs were issued in Port Moresby.
“I am informed by Mr. Robin Kawat of Kawat Lawyers that the Supreme Court has issued an order this morning at about 10.30am to restrain the Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Kevin Isifu, from issuing writs of the 2019 LLG elections.
“In compliance with the Supreme Court, all directors, operations managers and election managers are not to accept any nominations…” Mr. Gamato said in a circular.
Mr. Gamato has also instructed the commission’s lawyers to have the orders set aside to allow for the electoral process to proceed.
For election managers all over the country, the Supreme Court order means a long tedious process of informing candidates, some of whom, took days to come to town to pay nomination fees.
“We took several months to prepare for this and to inform people in the communities,” Madang’s Election Manager, Justin Pantumari told EMTV. “For Madang, it is difficult to inform people.”
“Madang has 451 wards. Some of the intending candidate travelled for days to get into town. For me, I feel saddened by this additional delay.”
Many other election managers say this election could be problematic. Regional and provincial electoral offices have been largely unfunded even after the government made commitments to fund the elections.
Speaking yesterday, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, who went to court to seek the stay order accused the government of meddling with the local level government process by not funding it.
“We have money for the highways and roads in Port Moresby, but we don’t have the money for a vital democratic process.”