A chance meeting at a bus stop at Waigani, Port Moresby yesterday presented me with the opportunity to speak with three sisters from Rigo District who are politically very aware.
Miriam, Bessie and Ade Lovai were at the bus stop on their way to a meeting.
Miriam Lovai, contested the 2012 elections in Rigo Open. Her sister Bessie supported her husband in his bid for the Central Governor’s seat.
All of them believe, women must vote this year, and in every election.
“Women make up half of the voting population, so we must make our voices heard,” Miriam says. She told me she worked as a health professional for 42 years.
“I have travelled the length and breadth of PNG. I have seen women in rural areas continue to die due to lack of basic services and I ask, who have we voted to represent us?”
Her sister Bessie, an educationist with a master’s degree, is passionate about establishing an effective Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) in Rigo District.
“We didn’t win,” she said of her husband’s bid to become Central Governor, “But we went out there and educated people to vote. So I believe, that women and girls especially must vote, independently.”
Their sister Ade, wants to see more done to make women and girls feel really comfortable to seek the help they need when they are affected by gender-based violence.
From Waigani, to Boroko, Kimberly Buka, a young professional says Papua New Guineans must use their votes if they want change.
“The people have more power than they think, and it’s a good thing to go out and actually vote for people that should be in office and if we don’t vote then the next five years we shouldn’t complain about who is in power.”
Unfortunately, Kimberley will not be voting as she is among the group of Papua New Guineans who for one reason or another, do not find their names on the electoral roll.
But for Gaiso Aunama, a vendor at the Waigani Market, she knows she is registered to vote in Abau District and she is planning on voting this year. She is from inland Abau district.
Speaking in Tok Pisin she says, her biggest motivation for voting is to see change. Change, she says, choking back tears, for the inland people of Abau because she feels more focus have been on the coastal areas of Abau only and very little focus in the inland areas. Her dream is to see more opportunities for children in Abau inland, beyond grades 10 and 12.