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Hagen Councilors call for Willie Ropa’s removal

The appointment of two returning officers for Hagen Open electorate in Western Highlands Province has caused a lot of confusion prompted the Ward Councillors for Hagen Urban and Hagen Rural Local Level Government to stage a media conference on Sunday at Kimininga Hotel in Mt Hagen to air their concerns.

They called on PNG Electoral Commissioner Mr Simon Sinai to consider revoking the appointment of Returning Officer Willie Ropa. Councillor Billy  Ronson of ward 28, Togoba one, flanked by fellow councillors, claim that for 7 years, they have been victimized, not able to perform their duties since Mr Ropa, allegedly, failed the 2013 LLG Election, then there is great concern from the Ward Councillors that he is incapable of running this year’s National General Election for Hagen Open Electorate.

“We believe that he is not going to manage this election, there’s going to be a lot of problems caused to our people, so we strongly appeal to electoral Commissioner to revoke the decision” Billy Ronson said.

It is understood that in 2013, a petition was presented to the Western Highlands Provincial Office, demanding Returning Officer Willie Ropa to step aside, amid allegation of unlawful practices, so that a neutral person could continue counting for the LLG election for Hagen Rural LLG.

Councillor Billy says because of this experience in 2013, the councillors are totally against the appointment of Mr Willie Ropa.

“Consider somebody outside of Hagen Open to become Returning Officer then our election is going to be safe” Ronson said.

Councillor further stated that they want a free, fair and safe election but if Mr Ropa is not removed, then there will be problems.

In his supporting statement Councillor Willie Wingti of Ward 1, Kinagdui says they have had enough problems faced in their respective communities due to failed 2013 Local Level Government elections as he called on the Commissioner to understand their genuine concerns and revoke the appointment of Hagen Open RO.

“We all councillors of Hagen Central were not happy for the appointment of Willie Ropa as the Returning Officer” Willie Wingti said.

EMTV’s visit to Western Highlands Provincial Election Office in an attempt to get Hagen open Returning Officer Willie Ropa to respond to these allegations was unsuccessful because according to an official, both the Election Manager and Returning Officer were not in office.

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Thomas Huliambari
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