ELECTION OF LLG PRESIDENTS
By Bryan Kramer | Kramer Report
On Wednesday, I excused myself from NEC meeting to fly to Madang to witness the swearing in of Ward Councillors in my electorate and oversee the election of the President and Mayor.
While it is not the normal practice for a Minister of State to make it his business to witness such events, it was important to me to firstly extend respect to the local ward councillors on their election and secondly to ensure the process of President election was complied with and more importantly without incident.
My electorate has 3 Local-Level Governments which is made up of 49 wards – Madang Urban (10) Ambenob Rural LLG (23) and Transgogol Rural LLG (16).
The day before they were to be sworn in, I requested an audience with them to speak about the district plans and programs that are focused on channeling all the DSIP down to the ward level. I also explained that they can expect to undergo an induction course on the role of the councillors as well as on-going training in the area of public administration and good governance.
I emphasised that the ward councilor holds a public office and once sworn in they should expect to be held to account under my administration. Any ward member who demeans the office and this includes assaulting his wife can expect to be dismissed from it.
Yesterday, I witnessed the swearing in of 23 Ward Councillors of Ambenob Rural LLG, two of which were female and only four Councillors were returned.
After the election they set up three camps, first made up of 11 councillors led by Stanis Giliab (Ward 5 who was returned) the second, led by former President (2007-2012) George Kilibob Ward 13, with 7 members in his camp and third led by newly elected female candidate for Ward 18 Naim Mal, with 5 members.
Following their swearing in, I spoke again of the importance of good governance and in the event they elected anyone to be president who failed to meet the fit and proper test then they can expect him or her to be removed from office.
Nominations were called by District CEO and LLG CO, all three camps nominated their candidates.
I explained that in the event no candidate secures the absolute majority of 12 votes (23/2=12) then the third placed candidate will be removed and a fresh vote carried out between the first and second placed candidate.
The results of the vote were 1st Giliab, 11 votes, 2nd Kilibob with 7 votes and 3rd Mal polling 5 votes.
Mal was removed as a candidate and a fresh vote conducted between Giliab and Kilibob. The results of the second vote being Gilab 12 votes and Kilbob 11 votes.
On account the result was so close (by 1 vote) I asked the Councilors who nominated and seconded Kilibo be allowed to count the votes themselves to verify the results.
Stanis Giliab was then declared the winner and sworn in as duly elected President of Ambenob LLG.
Today, I was supposed to witness the swearing in of the Madang Urban LLG Councillors as well as election of the Mayor, however 7 Urban Council Members decided to drive to Lae to lobby for the Mayors seat only to end up apprehended and charged by Lae Metro Polilce for being in possession of drugs and an unlicensed firearm. Two ward Councillors including the son of Governor of Madang, Ishmael Yama have been charged and denied bail.
The Madang Urban program has been deferred to next week Monday, followed by Transgogogl LLG on Tuesday.
picture taken of Ward Councillors at Ambenob LLG Council Chambers Danben Station, Madang Open Electorate.