Domestic Politics. Papua New Guinea press review.

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Hon. James Marape says the Government is looking at reforms to the electoral processes before the 2022 National Elections. Mr. Marape announced this at the swearing in of Kevin Isifu as the new PNG Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) Chairman at Government House. According to PNG Prime Minister, Mr. Isifu, who is the MP for Wewak (East Sepik Province), has the Government’s backing and is confident he will implement government’s law reform agendas: «He is someone very experienced and is closer to our line of thinking to preside over that office to implement some important reform agendas that we would like to set up as we face the 2022 National Elections, » Hon. James Marape said. Moreover, PNG Prime Minister said that the proposed reforms are targeted at the electoral and voting processes and women representation on the floor of PNG Parliament. «We would like to reform the system of voting and make it cleaner, especially in the area of biometric voting and that is one person, one vote […] The other area of reforms is the PNG Electoral Boundaries Commission report to relook at the size and number of the electorates in our country […] They are not intended only for the 2022 National Elections, but for the good of the country as PNG celebrates 50 years of independence by 2025, which is the golden jubilee and going into the future […] We will give him [Mr. Isifu] all the support that he needs to ensure that one or two key law reforms that are needed are done before the 2022 National Elections,» Mr. Marape said. [1-2]

However, PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato stated that the Goroka Open (Eastern Highlands Province) by-election would be held when the electoral roll is fully updated. Mr. Gamato said that the Commission has found out that more than 9000 names have been left out of the electoral roll, hence, the delay in the announcement of the Goroka by-election dates. He also noted, that once the Electoral Roll was done, then he would go to the Government House and as Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae for the dates for the by-election, and it would be this year. [3] Detectives from the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) in Port Moresby have charged 57 years-old Bire Kimisopa, former Member of Parliament for Goroka Open (Eastern Highlands Province). B. Kimisopa was charged with one count of official corruption, one count of conspiracy to defraud and one of misappropriating K517,000 of the Goroka District Authority (DDA), where he was a chairman from 2012 – 2017, and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. [4-5]

National and Supreme Court Registrar Ian Augerea told that the country’s 11th COVID-19 case was a female lawyer who was at the Waigani Court House on June 19. Mr. Augerea also marked that all staff and judges working in the courtrooms from the 19th of June 2020 must submit their names to the COVID-19 team for testing. All courtrooms used for hearing from the 19th of June 2020 will be undergoing deep cleaning. [6] At the same time, a series of meetings and peaceful marchers calling for action against gender-based violence in the country have been held throughout the capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. Gatherings, a peaceful march and a vigil were staged in the capital city following the death of 19-year-old Jenelyn Kennedy, a mother-of-two, after alleged beatings at home. Her husband appeared in court on Tuesday charged with wilful murder. Jean Parkop, wife of National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes, said this must be the turning point: «Let’s not wait until someone else dies. We must demand change, we must demand action […] As mothers, it is our duty to teach our sons to never hit women. This must not continue. We must stand up now, » she said.

PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape also urged men to walk away from cultural and tribal defences, cycle of violence and to respect women: «Women are our partners. They are our partners not just in homes but also in communities and the country as a whole, » Mr. Marape said. [7] Peaceful marches gathered more than 1,000 Papua New Guineans outside the PNG Parliament building to urge the Government to take action against gender-based violence. Meantime, PNG Finance Minister, Renbo Paita, met with the crowd at the Sir John Guise Stadium, where he expressed remorse at the amount of violence suffered by PNG’s womenfolk. [8] [1] https://postcourier.com.pg/government-looks-to-reform-electoral-process-before-2022-polls/
[2] https://news.pngfacts.com/2020/06/pangu-led-png-implement-key-reforms.html
[3] https://postcourier.com.pg/gamato-makes-clarification/
[4] https://postcourier.com.pg/bire-kimisopa-arrested-and-charged-with-fraud/
[5] https://postcourier.com.pg/bire-kimisopa-clarifies-his-arrest/
[6] https://www.thenational.com.pg/court-house-on-lockdown/
[7] https://www.thenational.com.pg/time-to-act/
[8] http://www.looppng.com/png-news/push-govt-action-gbv-93258
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