The 2017 Kandep Election Case
Let me take you to the news coverage on the third (3rd) page of PNG’s Nambawan Daily, Post Courier dated May 3rd 2017 where the page was allocated to Kandep Open Electorate’s politics between two traditional contenders, then incumbent and opposition leader, Hon Don Polye and his challenger, Mr Alfred Manasseh. Kandep is one of the five electorates in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.
Lets see the photos and headings on that page below.
These are two traditional rivals dating back to over a decade in elections when Don Polye had been in power. Until August 2017 things changed when Mr Alfred Manasseh was declared MP elect for Kandep. This was not expected by Don Polye, as you can see from his view as captured on the first photo above. As of today (16/08/2017) 16 lives have been lost at Wabag and properties like house and land destroyed worth thousands of Kina. See EMTV news on youtube. Oh my poor and innocent people at Wabag!
Two nearby tribes in Wabag, namely Kala and Kii are at battle now. Supporters of Don Polye and other opportunists’ raided Amala Village of Kala tribe soon after the declaration ousting Don Polye. The Kii tribe was seen harbouring Kandepeans who are from far left end of Enga Province. It all started when around eight (8) ballot boxes had never been counted despite direction by Electoral Commissioner. The decision to disqualify the boxes was by the provincial electoral officers for reasons they had evaluated best or otherwise, yet Don Polye had expected his win though these ballot boxes.
After this, we are not sure what the next course of action for Don Polye. Last week member elect Hon Alfred Manasseh MP was rewarded with Civil Aviation Minister, the same portfolio Don Polye held from 2002 as he first entered the Parliament. This seems the wiring of the whole thing is not by mistake such that it replicates the history between the twos. On one hand, Hon Alfred Manasseh is a lawyer by profession and equally capable but how soon will he fit Polye’s shoe at national politics? Alternatively he might be better and he may has his own history to write in service and contribution to Kandep and PNG.
In this election former Opposition leader and MP Don Polye is now outside parliament in 15 years of active and patriotic leadership. Will he come back through a court process or a recount or via a by-election? Or has the declaration for Kandep Hon Alfred Manasseh MP elect just and fair, and if so how shall the Kandep people be content with it and accept that? Who really is the supposed to be the MP elect? Another scenario is the Gumine Electorate, where two MPs took a seat each at the first Formation of Government in Parliament on the 2nd August 2017.
My conclusion: This 10th General Election is a MESS. Indeed very messy election conducted so far since independence, capable of declaring a “fail election”. Why? PNG CITIZENS HAVE NEVER BEEN SATISFIED IN THE WHOLE PROCESS FROM THE START TO THE END.
Way Forward: National Identification for all citizens and biometric system of election polling in 2022 and this is the Time to provide real solutions, not police and soldiers as solutions to the civilians.
Sad now but hoping and hoping that one day election transparency will work!