251018 Manu commends people for observing peaceful elections

PEOPLE of Halia, Taonita Teop and Kongara constituencies in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have been commended for observing peaceful elections within their respective constituencies.

This commendation was made by the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu when giving an update on the conduct of the 2018 ABG By-Elections.

“As the electoral commissioner of Bougainville, I want to thank all people in Halia, Taonita Teop and Kongara constituencies for making sure that our elections were peacefully conducted,” said Mr Manu.

“We did not experience any problems that could have jeopardized or prevented us from conducting the election. Your support had enabled us to successfully conduct and deliver the elections,” added Mr Manu.

Mr Manu also thanked all election officials as well as the police personnel and service providers for their valuable inputs.

“All your support and contribution had enabled us to deliver this election. As such, you all should also be commended for this.”

He also made mention of the work done by ward recorders from these constituencies for playing a pivotal role in updating the electoral roll that was used in the election.

“The ward recorders should also be thanked for their involvement in updating the names of eligible voters so they can then cast their votes in the election,” Mr Manu said.

According to Mr Manu, the only complaint received was that there were some voters that missed out on casting their votes due to their names not being on the electoral roll.

“People not having their names on the roll is the only issue that was raised by voters. In fact this issue is common in every election that we have conducted.

“However, this does not mean that we are not doing anything to address it. We will continue to make sure that we address this so that all eligible voters are given a chance to vote for candidate of their choice.

He further added that the Office of Bougainville Electoral Commissioner will continue to rely onall ward recorders in Bougainville to make sure that the electoral roll is properly updated and certified before the conduct of the next ABG elections.

151018 Polling commences in the ABG By-Elections

POLLING for the 2018 ABG By-Elections commenced yesterday in the Halia, Taonita Teop and Kongara constituencies in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

According to Returning Officer Ian Job, polling had commenced as scheduled without any major issues being encountered.

Polling started yesterday in these three constituencies and that I am pleased to announce that there were no major issues encountered which could have affected the start of polling”, said Mr Job.

The only complain received from some voters in Halia was that there were some voters who could not locate their names on the electoral roll. Apart from that, there were no other complains received,” added Mr Job.

Mr Job said polling will continue today and he is positive that there will not be any problems encountered again.

According to the polling schedule, Team 1 for Halia constituency is currently conducting polling at Kotopan elementary school while Team 2 is at Banis primary school.

In the Taonita Teop constituency, Team 3 is at Kekesu, Team 4-Tahiva, Team 5-Torosure, Team 6-Kaskurus, Team 7-Rhema, Team 8-Hoakop and Team 9 is at Mara.

In the Kongara constituency, Team 10 is currently conducting polling at Sipuru, Team 11 is at Kuritawe, Team 12-Puangta, Team 13-Damaosi, Team 14-Dianari and Team 15 is at Daaru.

All polling activities in these three constituencies will end this Friday while counting commences on Monday next week.

151018 BRC chair arrives to a rousing welcome in Buka on Saturday

THE chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC), His Excellency Bertie Ahern was accorded a rousing traditional welcome at the Buka Airport on Saturday.

Mr Ahern was on his first official visit to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville following his recent appointment as the chairman of BRC by the leaders of both the National Government and Autonomous Bougainville Government.

ABG President Dr Chief John Momis when welcoming Mr Ahern at the airport, commended the former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Ireland for accepting the chairmanship responsibility, before pledging ABG’s commitment towards supporting the work of the BRC.

Following his arrival, Mr Ahern and his delegation then had a short discussion with President Momis and some of his cabinet ministers including Albert Punghau (Peace Agreement Implementation), Willie Masiu (Justice), Thomas Paátaku (Education), Dennis Lokonai (Health) and Nicholas Darku (Primary Industries).

They also paid a courtesy call to the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Simon Pentanu.

Today saw Mr Ahern chairing the first BRC commissioners meeting in Buka.

This meeting was both historic and a milestone achievement for BRC as it was the first time that all seven BRC commissioners had convened and participated in a BRC meeting to discuss issues of importance relating to the conduct of the Bougainville Referendum.

Before that, the BRC Transitional Committee (BRCTC) was responsible for the planning and implementation of all referendum-related activities that have already been implemented.

The BRCTC was co-chaired by both the electoral commissioners of PNG and Bougainville.

The BRC is the body that will be responsible for conducting the referendum that will be held to decide the future political status of Bougainville.

Apart from chairman Bertie Ahern, the other BRC members include PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu, Dr Thomas Webster, Robert Igara, Patrick Nisira and Ruby Miringka.

Dr Webster and Mr Igara are representing the National Government while Mr Nisira and Ruby Miringka are representatives of ABG.

Mr Ahern and his delegation departed Buka for Port Moresby this afternoon.

Candidates Order of Draw for the 2018 ABG By-Elections

THE three-days nominations period for the 2018 ABG By-Election, which opened on Monday this week, ended this afternoon with a total of 26 candidates contesting for the respective vacant constituency seats of Halia, Taonita Teop and Kongara in the Bougainville House of Representatives.

As of this afternoon, Halia constituency recorded the highest number of candidates with 17 contestants vying for their vacant constituency seat, followed by Taonita Teop with six while Kongara constituency recorded only three contestants.

Following the closure of the nomination period, the order of draw for the candidates was then conducted at the Bel Isi Park in Buka town, witnessed by the candidates, their supporters and the public.

The purpose of the draw is to determine the appearances of the respective candidates on the ballot paper for each constituency seat elections.

Below is the list of candidates for the respective constituency seats with their candidate numbers which they were awarded during the draw;

Halia Constituency

10. Bordger Semoso

11. Christopher Kabobo

12. Robert Somi Habitein

13. Ephraim Hakelo

14. Osmond Pesa Tohiana

15. Garhey Rikaha

16. Alphonse Ratsi

17. Desmond Nilkare

18. Barnabas Matanu

19. Barbara Tanne

20. Gordon Batek

21. Leo Soli

22. Mech Robin

23. Gerard Lesi

24. Joel Korus

25. Chan Kurangik Sagolo

26. William Kaluwin

Taonita Teop Constituency

10. Jarvin Tagasi

11. Leslie Sorou

12. Naphtali Pango

13. Micah Mose

14. Albert Toro

15. Joseph Pais

Kongara Constituency

10. Danny Muntaa

11. Rauaku Karoai

12. Steven Topesi

ABG By-Elections to be held shortly

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THE Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is set and ready to conduct the by-elections for three vacant constituency seats in the Bougainville House of Representatives.

This assurance was given by the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner Mr George Manu last week when giving updates on the preparations already undertaken towards the conduct of these elections.

The constituencies that will be having their by-elections are Halia and Taonita Teop in North Bougainville and Kongara in Central Bougainville.

“I am pleased to announce today, that the dates for the 2018 ABG By-Elections have already been finalized and that the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is now set and ready to conduct these elections,” Mr Manu said.

According to Mr Manu, election writs will be issued by the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives on Friday 21st September, while nominations will take place from 24-26 September. Polling will be from 15-19 of October and counting is scheduled for 22-26 October. The return of writs will take place on 29th October 2018.

“As you can see from this schedule, we have about five weeks to conduct and complete these elections.

“Despite the short time we have to facilitate all these different electoral activities, I am positive and can assure the people of these three constituencies that will be having their by-elections, including the Bougainville Executive Council and ABG, that OBEC is prepared and ready to conduct and complete the election within this scheduled timeframe,” said Mr Manu.

The announcement of the election dates also came as an early independence gift to the people in these three constituency as they have been without a representative in the ABG Parliament for more than a year.

About a month ago saw the chiefs of Taonita Teop petitioning ABG to source funding to facilitate their by-election as soon as possible.

They had further warned that failure by the government to conduct the election will result in them not taking part in the referendum to decide Bougainville’s future political status.  

The Taonita Teop constituency seat had become vacant following the demise of member, late Raopos Apou Tepaia in 2016, whilst the members for the other two seats had resigned early last year to contest the 2017 National Elections. 

B’ville E/Commissioner announces ABG By-Election dates

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BOUGAINVILLE Electoral Commissioner Mr George Manu has officially announced the dates for the 2018 ABG By-Elections.

The announcement which was done recently and witnessed by the ABG Deputy Chief Secretary (Strategic Policy) Mr Thomas Raivet and representatives from media, now puts to rest doubts people had regarding the conduct of by-elections for the three vacant seats in the Bougainville House of Representatives.

These vacant constituency seats include Halia in the Buka district, Taonita Teop in Tinputz and Kongara in the Kieta district of Central Bougainville.

“I am pleased to announce today, that the dates for the 2018 ABG By-Elections have already been finalized and that the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is now set and ready to conduct these elections,” Mr Manu said.

According to Mr Manu, election writs will be issued by the Speaker of the ABG House of Representatives on Friday 21st September, while nominations will take place from 24-26 September. Polling will be from 15-19 of October and counting is scheduled for 22-26 October. The return of writs will take place on 29th October 2018.

“As you can see from this schedule, we have about five weeks to conduct and complete these elections.

“Despite the short time we have to facilitate all these different electoral activities, I am positive and can assure the people of these three constituencies that will be having their by-elections, including the Bougainville Executive Council and ABG, that OBEC is prepared and ready to conduct and complete the election within this scheduled timeframe,” said Mr Manu.

The announcement of the election dates also came as an early independence gift to the people in these three constituency as they have been without a representative in the ABG Parliament for more than a year.

Deputy chief secretary Mr Raivet commended the Electoral Commissioner for officially announcing the dates for the elections.

He said despite the financial constraints faced by ABG, it was very important that funding be allocated to such electoral activities.

“People need to have their representatives in parliament so that they can have a voice.

“This is very good, this is an achievement where all Bougainvilleans feel that they have a voice in their parliament and that they are being represented just like the others.

He added that the conduct of the by-elections is another milestone achievement towards updating the voter roll that will be used during the referendum to decide Bougainville’s future political status.

“This is one thing out of the way but is an achievement and we can move on from there; the updating of the referendum roll and trialing it, rehearsing it, getting it fully updated and we prepare for next year,” Mr Raivet said. 

The Taonita Teop constituency seat had become vacant following the demise of member, late Raopos Apou Tepaia in 2016, whilst the members for the other two seats had resigned early last year to contest the 2017 National Elections. 

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About OBEC

About OBEC

The Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is a Constitutional Office established under the Constitution of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. It was established following a decision by the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC) in 2010 to establish Bougainville’s own electoral commission. However, this decision was not implemented until 2014 when BEC appointed Mr George Manu as the acting Electoral Commissioner. This appointment led to the eventual establishment of OBEC. The first elections to be facilitated by OBEC were the 2014 by-elections for Hagogohe, Peit, Taonita Tinputz, Kongara and Lule constituencies, and the 2015 ABG General Elections. Before that, the PNG Electoral Commission was responsible for the conduct of the 2005 and 2010 ABG General Elections as well as the 2008 ABG presidential by-election. OBEC is responsible for conducting ABG General Elections and Community Government elections in Bougainville.

OBEC Strategic Foundation

A. Vision
Our vision is to be an independent and competent electoral body striving to strengthen democracy in Bougainville through the adoption of transparent and inclusive electoral processes.

B. Mission Statement
To strengthen democracy and good governance in Bougainville by conducting regular and credible elections through collaborative partnerships, strengthening the integrity of the electoral system, and enhancing OBEC’s institutional capacity.

C. Guiding Principles
We will be guided by the following values and principles in carrying out the mandate of OBEC and performing our individual functions as officers and staff:

Independence and Impartiality.
We will administer and conduct elections in an independent manner. We will perform our functions in a politically neutral and impartial manner and treat all election participants equally and fairly, without giving advantage to any political tendency or interest group.

Integrity.
We will ensure the integrity of the electoral process by guaranteeing full control of the electoral process. Anyone who threatens the integrity of the electoral process through violation of election laws, rules and regulations will be dealt with effectively.

Transparency.
The way we organize and conduct elections will be done in an open and transparent manner. As long as it is reasonable, we will allow public scrutiny of the policies and actions of the Commission.

Accountability.
We will endeavor to have an accountable administration of elections at each stage of the process and institute mechanisms to ensure compliance with standards. We will require each and every participant of the electoral process, including the commission personnel, voters, political parties and candidates, to follow laws and regulations.

Efficiency.
Given the cost of election administration, we will work hard to ensure that election funds and resources are used wisely and efficiently.

Service Orientation.
We recognize that our stakeholders expect quality service from us. We will continuously improve the conduct of elections to make it more inclusive and accessible to voters

Professionalism.
As a young organization, we will continuously upgrade our skills and competencies, improve our morale and discipline and strives to act in a professional manner at all times.

OBEC Structure

OBEC is headed by an Electoral Commissioner, and is assisted by the Director for Election Management and five managers-Regulatory Framework and Training, Election Operations, Enrolment and Electoral Rolls, Information and Community Awareness, and Corporate Services. The current Commissioner, Mr Manu was appointed acting Commissioner in 2014 and has been acting on this post till the 1st of October 2017 when he was confirmed to the position, with his gazettement done on 29 September 2017. Mr Manu’s deputy is Desmond Tsianai, who is the Director for Election Management. The other senior managers of OBEC are Ian Job (Manager Election Operations), Winterford Toreas (Manager Information and Community Awareness), Isaac Eminoni (Manager Enrolment and Electoral Rolls), George Kenatsi (a/Manager Regulatory Framework and Training) and Jason Kauva (a/Manager Corporate Services). Each of these managers have a number of officers employed under their respective sections.

Contact Details
Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner
P. O. Box 322,
Buka, Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Phone: +675 973 9841
Email: support@obec.gov.pg