Southern Highlands Supporters Call for Gamato to Respond to Delay

Frustrated supporters, scrutineers and counting officials of the Southern Highlands Regional seat took to the streets of Mt Hagen for the second time, demanding Electoral Commissioner; Patalias Gamato make a firm decision on the counting.

They said if they do not receive any response after close of business today on the delay of counting, they will return to Mendi.

The supporters, scrutineers and counting officials have been in Mt Hagen since Sunday, when the 131 ballot boxes for Southern Highlands Regional seat were transported to Mt Hagen Police station.

Today they protested, saying they are running out of money to pay for their food and lodging.

They are demanding the Electoral Commissioner, Patalias Gamato makes a decision to allow the boxes to be counted in Mt Hagen, or they will leave the City and return to Mendi.

Southern Highlands Regional is one of two seats yet to be declared.

Counting has been on hold for seven days due to election related deaths in Mendi, Southern Highlands.

The ballot boxes are still in Mt Hagen and a counting venue is yet to be selected.

The Western Highlands Election Steering Committee Chairman, Stanley Maip, disagreed for the counting to be held in Mt Hagen, stating that there were no proper arrangements made prior to the transporting of the ballot boxes.

However, these supporters, scrutineers and the counting officials, are still wandering around the City, demanding the counting to be held in Mt Hagen.

Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae today received the Writ for Chimbu provincial electorate.

Deputy Electoral Commissioner John Kalamoroh when handing the writ said counting venue for ballot boxes for the Southern Highlands provincial seat has now been moved from Mt. Hagen to Goroka in Eastern Highlands province.

A similar protest was staged on Tuesday preventing the transporting of ballot boxes to Goroka for counting.

The supporters say they cannot allow the boxes to be transported to other provinces apart from Mt Hagen.

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Vasinatta Yama

Vasinatta Yama

graduated from Divine Word University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, with majors in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as minors in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies. Her current focus is reporting on court and crime stories as part of the news team. She constantly strives to improve her skills in investigative reporting.

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