Returning officer for Ulawa/Ugi constituency, Mr. Michael Tanizapa at Apo, training venue for polling officials for Ulawa Island. Photo credit @ Lionel Taorao


THE returning officer for Ulawa/Ugi constituency has refuted claims made by the concerned public and candidates of the North Ulawa ward on Ulawa Island in the Makira/Ulawa province on the selection of polling officials to work at Su’u Moli polling station.

Mr. Michael Tanizapa, who is the returning officer for Ulawa Ugi constituency, when questioned regarding the allegations made by some candidates and the general public that the returning officer for North Ulawa Ward allegedly selected only her immediate family members, who are also close relatives of one of the candidates contesting the provincial elections for North Ulawa Ward, answered that the selection of applicants was done on merit.

It was reported that many of the selected applicants who will work as polling officials in the two polling stations in the North Ulawa ward were very close relatives of one of the senior electoral officers for Ulawa as well as a close relative of one of the contenders for the North Ulawa ward, which sparks public concern about the assertions.

Some of the candidates contesting the North Ulawa Ward were concerned after learning that the polling officials list for the North Ulawa Ward is not publicized like those of the other two wards on Ulawa, saying that something is not right with how things unfold with the selection of the polling officials for Moli polling station.

However, the returning officer for Ulawa Ugi constituency, Mr. Michael Tanizapa, denies any favoritism in the selection of the applicants for polling officials and says that everything is done accordingly to the process

“The Makira Ulawa electoral office has selected the final applicants from the short list of applicants we received after screening from the electoral office and are selected based on merits, meaning that they are qualified and have met the requirements for the polling officials jobs,”  Mr. Tanizapa confirms.

“It is from this short list of applicants that we make our final selection for each polling station, and those selected were picked from the list provided by the Electoral Office,”  he adds.

He adds that he is confident that even though they will undergo only two days of training for the job, all participants are selected based on merit, and he said that his team is well prepared to execute the training for the polling officials who will work during the polling day.

Mr. Tanizapa says that even though a total of more than 50 applicants were shortlisted, the Makira Ulawa electoral office has to pick out only 50 participants to meet the required number of polling officials needed for the posts.

However, it is exact that those selected to work as polling officials in the North Ulawa ward were very close relatives of the returning officer for the North Ulawa ward and close relatives of one of the candidates contesting the North Ulawa ward in the provincial elections.

A total of 65 polling officials were selected for Ulawa Ugi constituency: 15 for officials for the three polling stations on Ugi and 50 for the 10 polling stations on Ulawa.

Trainings for the polling officials on Ulawa Island should be completed by Monday, and the deployment of polling officials to their respective stations will take place on Tuesday.


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