THE resignation of the election advisory committee sends a loud and clear signal that the conduct of the Papua New Guinean election had been highjacked by Peter O’Neill, Isaac Lupari and the electoral commissioner, ably assisted by the police commissioner, the defence force commander and the secretary for finance.
The members of the committee, ombudsman Richard Pagen, Richard Kassman and Professor John Luluaki are all extremely capable men of high integrity. They will not have taken the decision to resign lightly.
They have resigned because they have been ignored by the electoral commissioner and prevented from fulfilling their obligations and their role, which they take seriously.
All honest and concerned Papua New Guineans value their decision, but lament the causes of it. It is a very sad day for Papua New Guinea, and sends shivers of fright about the future of democracy in our country.
The utter chaos of this election is deliberately organised. It is rigged. What rigging and deliberate chaos do we see?
Failure to provide the election advisory committee with any of the information it requested
Failure to complete an electoral roll that in any way shape or form reflects the eligible voting population
Failure to include names of people who had registered, with particular disenfranchisement of particular groups of people, such as students and educated working people
Failure to provide copies of the electoral roll to the public
Failure to provide sufficient ballot papers in areas where there were eligible voters listed on the Roll
Provision of extra ballot papers to People’s National Congress or pro-PNC candidates
Voting numbers in PNC-held seats that far exceed the number of eligible voters
Tens of thousands of ghost names on the roll
Illegal voting on Sunday and after 6pm
Deferral of voting in many areas, causing confusion and reduced voter turn-out, especially from the working population
Deferral and slow process of counting in selected areas
The list goes on. People have been deliberately disenfranchised. There is a growing surge of anger and disbelief.
The behavior of electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato is deplorable. He has turned a most powerful independent constitutional office into a political puppet show, and he should be held accountable.
By law he does not have to listen to anyone, apart from the advice of the election advisory committee. But he has chosen to be an outrigger of PNC. He has chosen to be a political football, kicked around for political scoring by Peter O’Neill and his henchman, Isaac Lupari.
They will do anything to hold on to power, including destroying the nation. They will do anything to prevent further exposure of their wrongdoings.
The resignation of the committee is a sign of the very dangerous waters that Papua New Guinea is heading towards.
Papua New Guineans must not just let these issues go. Peoples’ rights to take part in any meaningful democratic process have been destroyed.
Patilias Gamato should immediately resign. He has failed Papua New Guinea.”
Australia has nurtured the O’Neill regime and the election process. It must take some responsibility for the chaos.
I do hope the High Commission and its masters in Canberra are finally hearing the growing chorus of Papua New Guineans expressing their disapproval of this government and their anger about the chaos and rigging of the election.
If any hearing aids or spectacles are required, I am more than happy to provide them.”
The return of the O’Neill government would spell disaster for Papua New Guinea and change its democratic character.
I urge all political parties and all independent members of parliament, when elected, to abandon PNC.
If PNC comes back to power, the economic and social cost of repair and rebuilding the nation may be beyond any honest future government to undertake. No-one with a conscience should allow PNC to form the government.