Supporters of candidates are the cause of election-related violence in the country, Southern Highlands Governor William Powi says.
Powi, who is defending his Southern Highlands regional seat in the General Election 2022 (GE22) under the Pangu ticket, made this known after he witnessed innocent people’s vehicles being stoned by supporters of a regional candidate in Nipa-Kutubu on Wednesday.
Powi said he was invited by people from Topua wards one and two in the Nembi-Plateau local level government (LLG) and was given 20 pigs and three cassowaries to support his election campaign.
“We cannot continue to fight amongst ourselves and live like this, election comes after every five years and people should not cause violence but exercise their democratic rights by voting good leaders,” he said.
“Supporters are the cause of many of the violence during election period around the country and candidates must properly educate them to refrain them from taking part in illegal activities.”
He was responding to several vehicles belonging to his supporters being allegedly damaged by supporters of Philemon Embel on Wednesday afternoon while they were returning home after the programme in Nembi-Plateau LLG.
Embel, who is running for the regional seat under the People’s National Congress, was nearly shot by a suspect on Thursday morning.
The suspect’s vehicle was believed to be damaged on Wednesday. “Embel has been the MP for Nipa-Kutubu for 20 years, he is a senior leader and should control his supporters,” Powi said.
“Police must investigate this incident, we cannot let supporters instigate problems.”
Police urges supporters to behave during election period
ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police for Highlands (Eastern End) Rigga Neggi says police will not hesitate to arrest supporters of candidates who want to cause trouble and disturb the electoral process.
“Supporters of candidates should all behave as police will arrest those that want to cause trouble and disturb peace during the election,” he said.
Neggi called on supporters of candidates to be on their best behaviour and allow voters to cast their ballots without fear or intimidation.
“To make the work of policing during the election easier, the public must respect the security personnel and follow the rule of law,” he said.
Neggi said elections in the Highlands region had a history of being volatile with instances of violence and intimidation but he assured the public that the security personnel would be working hard to maintain peace throughout the election period.
“It was always the supporters of candidates that create worst case scenarios during the election but if they want to vote freely then they should not be going around causing trouble,” he said.
He urged candidates to set rules and guidelines for their supporters to follow in order to avoid election-related problems.
“We can work together to make the election a success if the public and the supporters of candidates obey the laws,” Neggi said.
Source National PNG