As the Moresby North West MP elect, Sir Mekere Morauta, waited for an official declaration to happen, the returning officer couldn’t be found.
Then, three hours after the Assistant Election Manager for NCD, stepped in and declared Sir Mekere Morauta as MP elect, another declaration was convened.
An EMTV crew called to a supposed news conference was ushered to Room 202 at the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby where the missing returning officer, Moka Havara, declared the candidate running third in the count, Joseph Tonde, as the Moresby North West MP-elect.
The crew members reported that Tonde was already holding the signed writ and that Havara was being told what to say just as they entered the room. He then made the declaration without making any eye contact with Tonde.
“He gave his reasons but he kept going around in circles,” one crew member said. “It wasn’t clear.”
The footage relayed on EMTV, showed a jittery, Moka Havara, announcing a declaration giving vague reasons as to why Tonde’s declaration was legitimate.
As quickly as it began, it was over and the group of six men including Tonde and Havara left the room and drove out.
As Papua New Guineans watched the event unfold on social media, another situation was brewing about 500 meters from where the illegal declaration had happened.
East Sepik Governor-elect, Allan Bird was being interviewed by and NBC crew when three Toyota Landcruisers packed with armed police and PNC supporters arrived at the scene.
“I told the NBC crew to keep filming,” said Allan Bird. “One of the young policeman pointed a gun at me.
“I said if you want to shoot me, then shoot me. But if you have children, is this the kind of country you want your child to grow up in?”
The group tried to kidnap the newly elected MP for Ijivitari. The man leading the mob was the unseated Ijivitari MP, David Arore.
“He was the one coordinating the whole thing,” Bird said. “I saw policemen with guns. They tried to kidnap Richard Masere.”
The public reactions were scathing and unforgiving with Papua New Guineans on social media angry at the turn of events and at those involved.
“Shame, shame shame…” said one commentator.
The developments come as both the PNC-led camp in Alotau and the Pangu-initiated Alliance in Goroka work to gather support from at least 56 MPs before the start of parliament next Friday.