This morning the thirteen candidates, led by Luke Lukcee and James Yoka, apologized to the National Airports Corporation and the airline companies for cancellation of flights.
The Hagen Open candidates and their supporters took their frustrations to the Kagamuga International Airport yesterday morning, and verbally demanded that airport staff stop work.
One of the candidates, Luke Lukcee, apologised today to the airport staff and the public and said they have exhausted all the avenues to change the current returning officer and his assistant for Hagen Open.
Lukcee claimed the returning officer and his assistant have some allegations in the 2007 and 2012 National Elections.
The allegations are that in 2007, the current returning officer, Paul Goimba was alleged to inflate the election by setting aside 5 boxes and declared the counting.
In 2012, Goimba’s assistant, was alleged to set aside 21 boxes and declared the counting.
The 13 Candidates fear history might repeat in this election. Things could have been worse yesterday morning at Kagamuga airport if it weren’t for 100 police personnel, and several Defence Force soldiers.
They were deployed as early as 4am in the morning to provide security at the airport.
Western Highlands Provincial Police Commander, Chief Superintendent, Martin Lakari confirmed that he had deployed his men after receiving reports that the airport was going to shut down.
Lakari told the candidates and their supporters to go to Court to solve their issues.
He assured the candidates that security forces from other Provinces will be in Mt Hagen to provide security and close monitoring will be upon all the election officials to ensure a free and fair election.
Lakari said that there were heavy police presence yesterday but the cancellation of flights was based on rumours and speculations. Another candidate, James Yoka further explained that the candidates are in fear of other wealthy candidates using police and security forces to stay in power.
Meanwhile, NAC’s Mt Hagen Operations Manager, Robert Micah, confirmed that all operations for the Airline Companies has resumed.
Micah said operations were affected yesterday and this morning, but after having been given assurance by the candidates, it was business as usual.
PPC Lakari told EMTV News that the case to change the current returning officer and assistant returning officer is still pending at the Supreme Court.
The matter was first filed and refused at the Mt Hagen National Court.