BY KEITH JACKSON
SIXTEEN OFFICIALS FROM TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL PNG have conducted a lightning check on the PNG Electoral Commission to see whether their names were on the roll for this year’s national elections.
All of them were disappointed: the Common Rolls for the National Capital District and Central Province had not been printed, so people could not check to see if their names were registered.
TIPNG’s action was in response to media publicity by the Electoral Commission to motivate Papua New Guineans to enrol for the elections.
Five directors and 11 employees of TIPNG went to the Electoral Commission office to check their names on the roll.
PNG Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, confirmed later that the roll was not yet printed but, according to a TIPNG statement, “he reassured [Transparency] chairman Lawrence Stephens that the NCD roll would be printed soon for people to ensure that they are enrolled.”
When the names of the 16 were finally checked, it turned out that only five were on the common roll, four needed to be amended and the other seven, first time voters, were not recorded.
The TIPNG statement went on to say: “With just three months to go before the national general elections, TIPNG encourages the voting population of the country to be responsible citizens and go to their nearest electoral office to ensure that their names are registered on the electoral roll.”
TIPNG also “called on [Papua New Guineans] to choose leaders who will be responsible with the powers bestowed upon them for the next five years by the people of Papua New Guinea.
“Wake up, people of PNG!” TIPNG chairman Stephens urged, “Your vote counts for the future of our nation.”
But surely the ‘wake up call’ needed to be firmly targeted at the Electoral Commission, which had mounted a PR campaign before it was ready to deal with voter enquiries.