Services businesses in Mt. Hagen City have been at a standstill since Saturday following tensions triggered by the declaration of sitting MP, William Duma.
Shops have been advised to close while all flights into Mt. Hagen’s Kagamuga airport have been put on hold until further notice.
This morning protestors took to the streets calling on the electoral commission to come clear on what they allege as the illegal early declaration of William Duma.
The candidates say Returning Officer, Paul Goima made an early declaration before the absolute majority was reached.
It is also understood that 28 sealed ballot boxes remained uncounted when the declaration was made and no clear explanation was given to scrutineers and candidates.
One of candidates, Luke Lukcee, said they have also filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission to reject the Hagen Open Writ if it is presented in Port Moresby.
The protesters presented a petition to the Provincial Election Manger giving the Commission, 48 hours to respond to their concerns.
Protesters include candidates for the Hagen open seat who claim declaration is unjust and has deprived them of fair contest in the elections.
Tensions have remained high since Sunday with reports of clashes between supporters of rival candidates.
The unrest in Hagen, began a day after the fatal shooting of two police mobile squad members in Wabag. Police Commissioner Gari Baki was in Wabag on Sunday. On Monday he traveled into Hagen for various briefings with troops on the ground.
The man who was a staunch campaigner for the improvement of the National Cancer Treatment Center in Lae has died at the hospital he served in for more than 20 years.
Former Angau Hospital oncologist, Dr. John Niblet is understood to have died of various complications at about 7pm on Tuesday night with his wife, Andrea, at his hospital bedside.
As many of his close friends and colleagues began grieving for his loss, there has been a lot of anger expressed over the treatment of the cancer specialist in the 12 months leading up to his death.
In June 2016, Dr. John Niblet’s employment with the National Department of Health (NDOH) ended and he was told his contract would not be renewed. There was not much of a warning issued by the NDOH.
“The fact that they hadn’t told me until the last minute, whether I got a contract or not, I’ve been requesting information since before Christmas,” he said when speaking to EMTV News last year.
In March 2017, Dr. Niblet, who had been out of a job for more than six months was evicted from their rented accommodation in Lae. After seeking a court injunction on the grounds of his unpaid entitlements, the court issued orders for the NDOH to continue paying rentals until he was paid.
The NDOH never complied. The Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase who came under fire from the public said in a statement that Dr. Niblet’s entitlements had been processed and that they were “waiting for clearance from the Finance Department.”
Dr. Niblet’s plight was also raised in Parliament by the Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza who called on the government and the Prime Minister to intervene. The Prime Minister’s response was to call for Dr. Niblet’s reinstatement if a replacement could not be found quickly.
Dr. Niblet was also facing deportation as he waited for his entitlements to be paid. Close friends said his visa had expired and he faced the possibility of deportation by the Foreign Affairs Department and was stressed by the personal crisis.
“He served this country for 30 plus years,” said wife Andrea. “…and this is how he is treated.”
Sylvester Gawi’s take on the political journey of Lae lawyer, Emmanuel Mambei who takes on Patrick Pruaitch.
Politics is becoming interesting as the election nears and the horses come out to line up for the race. One interesting electorate to watch this election is the Aitape-Lumi district of West Sepik Province. It is arguably one of the most important provinces as it covers Papua New Guinea’s territorial land border with Indonesia.
A total of 20 candidates have filled in the Form 29 to contest the Aitape-Lumi seat currently held by Treasury Minister and National Alliance Party Leader Patrick Pruaitch. Twelve of these candidates are from Aitape, while the other eight are from Lumi.
For over 40 years infrastructures and basic services have deteriorated, main highways have become waterways and bridges have collapsed. There is little hope that the rural population pray to survive the test of times as Christians would say. The Catholic Church runs most of the schools and health facilities and the people live off the land to pay for school fees and other expenses. These 19 candidates have one basic aim, that is change Pruaitch’s 15-years leadership.
I met up with one of Lumi’s finest son who is contesting this election. He is one prominent lawyer who runs a private law firm in Lae city. Meet Emmanuel Toku Mambei, a young man from Karaitem village, Ward 8 of the West Wapei LLG in Lumi West Sepik.
Mambei is an outspoken lawyer, who has had a short but successful law career that he has served in both public and private practice. He is one man whom I’ve met in my capacity as a journalist in mainstream media as a reliable contact and a straight shooter.
“I’ve made up my mind to contest the elections because of the suffering my people have endured over the last 20-years or so,” Mambei told me after one of his visits to his village in 2016.
“The roads have become impassable and basic services are lacking at the LLG level, there is simply nothing to empower our local people.”
Emmanuel Mambei’s dad was a former politician. Paul Mambei served the people of Aitape-Lumi from 1990-1997 when he lost to Eddie Saweni. Saweni served for a term before being ousted by Pruaitch in the 2012 National General Election.
“There are a lot economic opportunities for the local people, but the dilapidated state of basic infrastructures and the gross neglect on improving basic services has deprived people’s empowerment,” Mambei said.
Going up against Pruaitch won’t be an easy task for Mambei and his counterparts. Pruaitch has been in the government for 15-years and has the backing of one of PNG’s oldest political parties, the National Alliance Party.
While West Sepik is a NA stronghold, having its candidates winning elections, Mambei sets up his winning strategy with the Peoples Progress Party (PPP) one of the founding political parties in the country.
Whatever results comes out after the elections will determine the future of the people of Aitape-Lumi. The challenge is now on, will they vote for money and food or quality leadership?
So I went out on Tuesday all set to vote for my leaders in Port Moresby. Obviously I wasn’t paying attention to the news the night before and in the morning so I went back a second time. Confused I called my news friends and yes, was told to follow the news updates on this very important event.
Friday comes and I am at the polling area again and within five minutes was sent away. I insisted on voting using my NID card as the government advertisements have been saying, but wasn’t allowed to vote. My name wasn’t on this roll so I was sent to another polling area. Now here at this other polling area, I joined the this very long queue and stood for more than an hour and my line didn’t seem to be moving. On checking at the entry point people were pushing their way in and off course lots of short cuts and so I stood with the rest of the women on the women’s line and waited.
I got a call later from a friend that my name was not on the roll and I should quit and go away but I wanted to vote. I know I had put down my name already and I am turning up now to vote so how comes?
Later that evening I listened to friends, neighbors and family members who tried all day to get their votes in and didn’t. Then I read about how many other Papua New Guineans were turned away or refused to vote because only a limited number of ballot papers were sent to them. Yes questions and more questions but to be denied the right to vote in a democratic country? Where the government is for the people and only through the people that it is a legitimate government. How come so many people missed out?
I didn’t vote in the end.