The small town of Banz in the new Jiwaka province came alive on Saturday 20th May as thousands of people flocked in to hear the Jiwaka regional candidates take on each other on topics of importance in a debate initiated by the sitting governor, Dr William Tongamp.
EMTV Online’s contacts in Banz confirmed the event was capitivating in what is a major 2017 national election gathering in the young province.
“Jiwaka regional candidates campaign and debate was hosted by Dr. William Tongamp at Banz today (yesterday), some good speeches were made,” Said Issac Aipe, a teacher at Banz Elcong Primary School in the North Waghi District.
Aipe said only 20 regional candidates of the 52 contesting candidates turned up for the debate.
“Out of 52 candidates, only 19 including the governor spoke.”
Responding to EMTV Online’s question on his view on the benefit of the debate, Aipe reiterated that the public debate was beneficial in terms of educating the people to compare the leaders hence making right choices when it comes to choosing representatives, adding all candidates were outspoken.
“The debate was very good; they all were highly educated candidates and spoke for the good of Jiwaka province”.
According to Aipe, infrastructure and agriculture developments were the popular topics during the debate.
The former economic behemot in Waghi Mek Coffee plantation was also a topic of discussion and attracted most of the candidates’ speeches. The plantation is now a skeleton of its former self.
Tongamp, who is the first governor of Jiwaka province, told those who attended that he spent the time to establish the administration. The set up will allow for proper management of service delivery and accountability.
Meanwhile, though the Kudjip to Banz road was upgraded by the current provincial government recently, concerns were also raised on the deteriorating state of the other road network in the province. Concerns were also raised regarding lack of government attention to the rural parts of the province, including Jimi and Kambia.