The Ombudsman Commission wishes to inform the public that it is looking at the issues regarding the decision to change the counting venue for the Lagaip Open Electorate By-Election from Wabag to Goroka without prior consultation.
The Ombudsman Commission understands that the Electoral Commissioner has the prerogative provided by the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections to decide on matters concerning the conduct of Elections in the country, however, he is assisted by the Election Advisory Committee for provision of Advice and also has the power to delegate some of his functions to the Returning Officer.
The Ombudsman Commission acknowledges that the Lagaip Open Electorate has faced many challenges during elections, however, before forming a conclusive judgment on the election’s conduct and counting, the Ombudsman Commission strongly recommended that the Electoral Commissioner must consult the relevant stakeholders, including the Provincial Administration and the Provincial Administrator to allow for a genuine interchange and consideration of views.
The Ombudsman Commission has a duty to assist the Electoral Commissioner to protect his integrity as a leader and has reminded him that his conduct during this critical period is being closely observed, both nationally and internationally.
It is therefore crucial for the Electoral Commissioner to be reminded of his roles and responsibilities prescribed by the Constitution and that when making decisions he must maintain integrity of his office and keep the public’s trust that we the people have in him and his office.
Approved for Release by
RICHARD PAGEN KEVIN KEPORE
CHIEF OMBUDSMAN OMBUDSMAN