Monday, December 12, 2011

Mendi voters want common roll update reviewed

Source: The National, Monday 12th December 2011

ELIGIBLE voters in Mendi, Southern Highlands, have alleged this year’s common roll update had “totally failed” and the people’s rights as voters was being “hijacked”.
Community leaders, youths, business representatives, intending candidates, and concerned citizens, took to the streets of Mendi in a peaceful protest on Nov 28 before converging at the police station to present a three-page petition to the Electoral Commission.
Armed with posters and banners, the protesters said they were fed up of alleged political “hijacking and suppression” during general elections and called for the commissioner to take immediate action.
They accused the provincial election manager, Johnson Levi and his team of electoral officers of tampering with the common roll update as it had “ghost names”.
They said were unrealistic increases in the number of eligible voters in several council wards.
The six-point petition called for the commissioner to declare the common roll update null and void, sack Levi and his team and arrange for the immediate arrest of the team for colluding to “hijack” the common roll update.
The petition called for a new common roll update to be carried out and if that could not be done, the previous common roll should be used instead.
They want Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to step aside and task the role of conducting a new common roll update to his deputy, because Trawen had allegedly “overlooked” a previous petition presented in June on the same matter.
The protesters said if the latest petition was not considered, they would boycott elections in the province next year.
They said they were fed up of their democratic rights being deprived.
Prompt action by Trawen would ensure an honest and transparent election next year, the petition said.
The petition was received on behalf of the commission by Levi, and deputy administrator, Sai Pilyo, who is the provincial election steering committee chairman.
Local businessman, Garry Kulangal said it was the people’s freedom to vote and the common roll update had to be carried out with transparency so that the leaders elected represented the people.

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