Papua New Guinea
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Lagaip supplementary election set for next week

THE Laigap supplementary election will commence polling next week in Enga Province.

The people of Laigap have been without a representative in the National Parliament for a year now, due to the election in the district declared failed in 2022.

The failed election in the district in 2022 was due to the alleged hijacking of ballot boxes by candidates and their supporters, which led to widespread violence throughout the electorate.

On Friday October 20, the provincial police commander Superintendent George Kakas and the Enga Electoral Commission team invited all candidates for a briefing at the Enga Takeanda building to instill in them the rules on how to conduct themselves and their supporters in an election.

Supt Kakas said: “Some of you sitting here are responsible for the hijacking resulting in the killings and destruction that took place where; one of my police vehicles was burnt and a personnel attacked and a firearm stolen, you know who you are but none of you came forward.

“Many of you complained of election crimes being perpetrated by candidates and their supporters, but none of you fronted with evidence based complaints or signed statements against one another. I know why you did that.

“All of you are vying to represent the people of Laigap in Parliament, therefore, you must conduct yourself in a fair, transparent and peaceful manner,” Supt Kakas said.

“It is a disgrace to the good people of Laigap, the province,the eyes of the country and the world that the democratic process was stalled through the bad conduct of aspiring leaders and their supporters.

“Now, I appeal to you leaders to ensure that you and your supporters conduct yourselves properly and abide by the rules and democratic processes of elections ,enshrined in our Constitution.”

Supt Kakas issued “verbal preventive orders” to the candidates, similar to those normally issued by Operation Mekim Save (OMS), (because what happened in the 2022 election was tribal violence instigated by these leaders) to the candidates to control themselves and their supporters and that if anything happens in their names, they will be held accountable.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Highlands Western End, Samson Kua, was also present and echoed the same sentiments.

He also assured the candidates of the dates that ample security will be provided with teams coming in from Hela, WHP, SHP and Simbu to assist.

All candidates there pledged to abide by the laws and ensured a free fair and safe elections.