The Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, has recently clarified on Loop PNG the confusions with the Jiwaka Provincial Returning Officer as claimed by concerned Jiwakans.
Whilst many thank the Electoral Commissioner for clarifying the confusion, the explanations on the media did not go down well with yet some who suspect political ties between the current governor, Dr William Tongamp, and the new Jiwaka Provincial Returning Officer (PRO) Stefan Wusik, and claim Gamato’s reasons undermine the capacity and capability of the female Elections Manager who is automatically the PRO.
“So is Gamato indirectly saying that the position is solely for males and not females? Is it legally stated that the position is only for males to occupy?” questioned Brandon John, a Drilling Environmental Advisor.
John told EMTV Online that Rossie Pandihau is well qualified to perform the task of PRO and she deserves the post.
“She is capable of performing in that post and Wusik’s last minute appointment is questionable.”
According to John, the Electoral Commissioner’s explanation is shallow and Jiwakans need a clear explanation as to why he made the last minute change.
“Gamato needs to clearly explain the rationale behind this change,” reiterated John.
Student representatives in Port Moresby also raise this concern stating that they are worried about the rigging of election processes which might lead to a rigged election results that will affect the future and development of this new province.
Michael Meck, University of Papua New Guinea Jiwaka Students Union president, said there is currently a female who is the election manager for Jiwaka, who has long been gazetted and she is the only legitimate person to process all election related matters and programmes for Jiwaka province.
“Appointing or substituting PRO position at the very time of nomination period smells fishy deal in it,” said Meck.
Meanwhile, concerns are also raised regarding the recent abandoning of electoral office in Banz, and operating in Kurumul, where the new provincial headquarters is located.
Some candidates on the ground told EMTV Online that they would not go to Kurumul to submit their nominations and want the PRO and the Provincial Administrator (PA) to go to Banz to accept their nomination.
Whilst claims were made that nominations are going on at the new electoral office at the provincial headquarter, Nolan Kom, an intending candidate for the provincial seat asked all the intending candidates for the provincial seat to meet in Banz, to set a time for the PRO and the PA to attend at place of nomination to receive their nominations.
Attempts by EMTV Online to contact Jiwaka Elections Manager, and the Electoral Commissioner today were unsuccessful.