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May 19, 2021
Featured Highlands News

Mendi Town Still Tense

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Mendi town is still tense, despite the transportation of the ballot boxes for the Southern Highlands Regional seat to Mt Hagen for counting to resume.

Normalcy has not been fully restored, as people are afraid more tension might arise after the declaration.

Residents are on high alert on the movement of the 18 disputed boxes which were set aside during the counting and are being locked up at Mendi Police station.

EMTV News was in Mendi town yesterday, and the situation was still tense, with supporters of the Southern Highlands Regional candidates blocking off containers at Mendi Police station, not to be transported to Mt Hagen for counting. 

The containers contain the 18 disputed boxes that were locked away containing votes belonging to the strongholds of the sitting Governor, William Powi.

Electoral Commissioner, Patalias Gamato, had issued a letter to the Provincial Returning Officer to count these disputed boxes.

A Community Leader in Mendi town, Robert Posu, said the inconsistency with the Electoral Commission and the counting officials has caused unnecessary tension in the town area.

The supporters of certain candidates who blocked off the containers raised concerns that in a decision to go into the elimination process must be made in the next 24 hours and a winner needs to be declared by Friday this week.

Meanwhile, the Western End Deputy Commander, ACP Mark Yangen is expecting more tensions to rise after the declarations and says they will need more manpower before the declaration is made.

The situation has affected schools and business houses and the people’s movement. 

A candidate who’s currently running third, Jerry Kiwai, is appealing to go ahead with the elimination process without further delay as they have gone past quality checks.

The fourth runner-up, Bernard Peter, also shared the same sentiment to go ahead with the elimination, and if any of them have grievances, they can bring it up to the Court of Disputed Returns.

The Commissioner wants the counting of 18 disputed boxes; however, the counting was put on halt as there was a court order preventing the counting of the disputed boxes.



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