As the country heads into the fifth day of polling, Commissioner of Police David Manning has appealed to the people of Papua New Guinea for their continued support and cooperation in delivering the 2022 National General Election.
News from around the country have been mixed, with some reporting quiet and peaceful polling whilst others reported instances of attempted hijacking of the election process as reported in Hela and the Enga Province.
To members of the security forces, Mr Manning said, “This is a test for all of us. We do not have the luxury nor the option to give up. Be assured we are doing our level best to maintain the electoral process. We have many servicemen and women who believe in our country and are committed patriotic Papua New Guineans.
“We will push on and fill aspects of the electoral operations that have or are failing. Trust each other, support each other and put our faith in God our Father.”
Prime Minister James Marape was declared member-elect for Tari-Pori last week. Counting for Hela continues today. Acting PPC Hela-CIP Robin Bore has reported that so far there have been no issues of concern regarding counting in Hela.
PPC Southern Highlands Province Chief Inspector Daniel Yangen said his province is ready for polling today.
PPC WHP-Supt John Sagom said security forces in the province are ready for the polling scheduled for Wednesday July 13, 2022. Roll-over teams will be inserted into 334 polling areas.
PPC Chimbu Supt David Warap said his province is also ready for polling. They have QRF units, a Mobile Squad, and a PNGDF platoon monitoring the situation as they await polling on Friday 15 July. He is satisfied with manpower capacity which he said is enough to insert 200 men into each of the districts to cover the polling areas.
Over to Border Command, Assistant Commissioner Peter Philips is happy with security arrangements in his command thus far.
PPC South & North Fly, Chief Inspector Silva Sika said polling in the Western province started last Tuesday and is progressing well. No election related violence and election is running smoothly in the four electorates (South, North, Delta & Middle Fly). He said some places completed their polling but other places needed air transport and are yet to be airlifted due to bad weather conditions.
PPC West Sepik Chief Inspector Joe Poema said polling went smoothly but partially completed in West Sepik. Bad weather in remote areas such as Telifomin has prevented teams from being flown in. Polling in Aitape is expected to end today or tomorrow.
For the New Guinea Islands Region polling is said to be generally quiet and peaceful with no election related problems.
New Ireland Province PPC Felix Nebanat said polling for the Namatanai Open was completed and all ballot boxes locked away for counting. Polling for the Kavieng Open seat was not held on Saturday as one of its areas, Musau Island, is predominantly a Seventh Day Adventist community. Polling was held for the island community on Sunday instead and completed. Counting for NIP is expected to begin today.
For Manus Province PPC Chief Inspector Kiweri Kesambi said polling commenced late on July 6, and was all quiet with no problems so far. They are waiting for news from Aua and Vuvulu LLGs as there is no telephone reception with these two Islands so updates are not forthcoming. The officials are now waiting for the return of Naval Ship Ted Diro which will bring in the ballot boxes from those two LLG. Counting is expected to begin on Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Polling for East New Britain is likely to be completed this week with counting expected to begin immediately. No major election related incidents. However, of concern was in Pomio as polling teams had to walk long distances to conduct polling and some officers fell ill and had sore feet. Request was made for the airlift of a security personnel who could not walk.
West New Britain Province was also quiet and peaceful. The only incident in the province worth mentioning was in Talasea Ward 1 where supporters of Candidate John Tuka wanted to vote in place of deceased persons thus creating a little bit of tension but police were able to have it under control.