2704 Seven people with legal issues cleared to nominate and contest

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato today made separate decisions on seven intending candidates who required clearance to nominate and contest the 2017 National Election. This is after various lawyers of intending candidates and candidates sought clearance from the Electoral Commissioner to nominate and contest various seats in the country.

Mr. Gamato said he has allowed the seven intending candidates to nominate and contest the election in the light of the provisions the Constitution that limit, allow and qualify persons intending to nominate and contest the national general elections.

“As Electoral Commissioner, I have made some decisions in light of the provisions of the Constitution and the Organic Law on National and LLG Elections.”

“On the outset, it is the prime function of the Electoral Commission to organize and conduct all elections for the parliament and the local level governments.”

Section 50 of the Constitution provides the right to vote and stand for public office. The limits are set out under sub-section 1 (a) to (e) of that provision.

Mr. Gamato pointed out that the Constitution is very clear in that “every citizen who is of full capacity and has reached voting age has the right to vote and stand for public office”.

“But if one is under sentence of death or imprisoned for a period of nine months continuously, he or she cannot exercise that fundamental right provided by the Constitution.” 

“This means that anyone who is not in prison is free to nominate and contest for public office.”

The Electoral Commissioner further clarified that anyone who is serving his or her term in the prison as a State prisoner but if the prison term is less than nine months; he or she is free to pay his or her nomination fees and contest national general elections.

“This includes those prisoners, whose appeals are pending further determination.”

“The same is also the case for those prisoners who are not serving their terms in the prison.”

Mr. Gamato pointed out that the Electoral Commission does not perform the functions of the court or the police force in interpreting and applying the law or enforcing the law.

He said that those are functions performed by the appropriate bodies established by the Constitution, adding that if PNGEC was to do so it would exceed its primary function which is to organize and conduct elections.

Based on the above explained provisions of the Constitution and Organic Law on Nation and LLG Election, the Electoral Commissioner has therefore made separate decisions on these following individuals who wanted to nominate and contest the 2017 National Election:

  1. Ronny Knight - The Supreme Court has allowed him to nominate on April 26, 2017 therefore I have allowed him to nominate and contest the election.
  2. Kiloh Maule Kennedy - Mr. Kennedy was imprisoned at Bomana Correctional Services. He has appealed the decision. Mr. Kennedy has the right to nominate under the Constitution so he is allowed to nominate and contest the election.
  3. Francis Potape - Mr. Potape faced allegations of misuse/misappropriation. The courts have cleared him so he can nominate and contest the election.
  4. James Yali - Mr. Yali is out on parole. He is no longer in prison any more while his pardon is still pending. His term is less.Section 50 (1) (a) allows him to nominate to contest the election.
  5. Boka Kondra - The Leadership Tribunal found Mr. Kondra guilty of misconduct in office under the Leadership Code. His application for judicial review was dismissed by Court. Mr. Kondra resigned as Member of Parliament therefore he is no longer a leader.He is free to nominate and contest.
  6. Sir Peter Lus - There is no age limit for nomination and contesting after passing the legal age limits to contest as MP.Sir Peter Lus can therefore nominate and contest the election.
  7. Ate Wobiro - The Supreme Court appeal was argued but the decision is still pending. Therefore Mr. Wobiro can nominate to contest the election.

Media Consultant

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