There must be a concerted effort by the respective government agencies such as Police, PNGDF and CIS officers under the operational command of the Police, Dept. of Finance, Dept. of Provincial and Local Government Affairs and others to work with the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) as it seeks to deliver a safe and fair election.
Transparency International Papua New Guinea is making this call in-light of the growing reports of election-related violence taking place around our country, in particular some parts of the Highlands region.
It is the duty of respective agencies and the civil service at large, to operate independently of politics at this time and to ensure that they uphold their integrity in the delivery of the 2022 elections. Their actions will assist reaffirm public confidence in the electoral process.
“The PNGEC needs to ensure it is communicating regularly with the public, providing consistent and accurate information so that citizens can be reassured that the elections are being effectively managed and properly conducted. The delivery of a peaceful election is a shared responsibility that requires leadership from these key players as well as candidates and their respective supporters. TIPNG calls on all citizens to shun any candidate that is instigating violence and to give support to the work of law enforcement agencies so there is peace and good order during this critical time for our country,” said Peter Aitsi, Board Chair of TIPNG in a media statement.
“TIPNG has called on the PNGEC to hold regular media updates so the public is kept fully informed of the election preparations, planning and delivery. These communications should also outline the processes for reporting complaints or issues of concern identified by citizens during the election. This will go a long way towards addressing misinformation and disinformation during the election period, which if left unaddressed exacerbate the risk of election-related violence,” said Mr. Aitsi.
TIPNG identified the issues of Electoral Management in its 2021 National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) programme funded with support from the European Union (EU). In the NISA,
TIPNG drew attention to the worsening state of electoral processes, which raises questions regarding the very democratic underpinnings of Papua New Guinea.
To allay these concerns, TIPNG recommended that decision makers and officer holders should prioritize the National Census, register every eligible voter, and implement the electoral laws properly, to ensure integrity within the electoral process.