SUPPORTERS of a candidate (named) in Tambul-Nebilyer electorate in Western Highlands Province stoned a vehicle belonging to the Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations and local MP Benjamin Poponawa.
Mr Poponawa’s Toyota LandCruiser 10-seater side glass was broken by supporters of a rival candidate in an attempt to disturb an event organised by the Kusumbu tribe at Pinta village in Tambul on Monday (22/05/17).
The event was organised by the leaders and the 3000 people of Kusumbu tribe from the two council wards contributing garden food, firewood, pigs, cash and kind to support Mr Poponawa and thank him for the services he had delivered for the past 10 years.
Mr Poponawa condemned the actions of the supporters of the rival candidate for disturbing the event that was organised by his supporters and damaging his car.
He urged candidates to control their supporters and respect other candidates and movement of the people in the electorate.
“I strongly condemned the incident that had occurred at Pinta Village and urged the candidates to respect one another and control their supporters from instigating trouble,” he said.
He said small trouble could lead to bigger problems and leaders and candidates in the electorate should take total control of their supporters and conduct their campaign in a peaceful manner.
“Try and build a friendly relationship to all people and candidates to earn people trust and vote. Right now, the people have the power to choose their leader and not us,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenters on social media at Tambul-Nebilyer Development Forum (Facebook) have condemned the actions of the supporters saying this is the lowest form of elections support and campaigning and must be condemned in the whole of Tambul-Nebilyer.
"You can't get into Parliament by resorting to such degrading forms of malicious behavior. Respect must prevail and all supporters must remain calm and conduct their campaigns in a more decent and civilized manner," an administrator of the Tambul-Nebilyer Development Forum, Solomon Wanis Tapura said.
"If you want to support in an extreme form, go to ela motors and buy cars for you candidate to campaign effectively or do something positive. Don't just pick up river stones or bush knives and resort to violence," Mr. Tapura said.
"You are not impressing anyone. You are only showcasing you low thinking capacity and do more damage to the candidates on both sides. This sort of behavior must stop in every household and tribal zones of Tambul-Nebilyer. We know Benjamin Poponawa might not have delivered but this is not how you show your disapproval. Everyone must campaign freely in Tambul-Nebilyer, including Poponawa," he said.
Many other commenters on the social media forum also condemn the actions of the supporters. Andrew Lapi on the forum said It is shameful to read about a candidate resorting to violence through his supporters to force the incumbent to surrender his leadership on a golden plate.
"Someone is so desperate to unseat the incumbent through violence. Is that the kind of leadership the instigator of that incident trying to portray?? What are your aims in alleviating law and order if get elected? How can you control the entire electorate when you cannot control your supporters?
Is that what you can do to uphold what we called free ,fair and safe elections?? The actions of this desperate candidate speaks volumes about his incapabilities of running the office of the Tambul Nebilyer people so better hang his head in shame and better quit or so!" Mr. Lapi said.
Source: Post Courier and Social Media (Facebook).