By FRANK SENGE KOLMA
THE government has been asked to adopt wholesale Chimbu province’s election management experience to be applied nationwide.
The recommendation is contained in a confidential brief to the prime minister by a AusAID/Cardno-sponsored electoral support programme team. The Chimbu model, as it is referred to, includes:
- An inexpensive but effective identification card system;
- A family roll awareness, training and registration system;
- Separate polling booths for women; and
- Electronic counting.
The ID system incorporates the name of the voter and his photograph, how many family members he has and further identifies his LLG, clan and village. This ID is done on site by returning officers or assistant returning officers through open consultative meetings. And the data is immediately recorded into a database at the provincial Electoral Commission office.
“It is the only form of credible reconciliation as the whole community and the councillor are involved and are going through the process of registration together and publicly,” the team noted. Chimbu returning officers have been conducting training on the application of the new roll system called the “Family Roll” throughout the region, “The key success to the Chimbu by-elections is attributed to the awareness component of the preparation which had significant impact on the process of the by-elections and prepared Chimbu for the elections,” the team concluded.
The Chimbu model includes an innovative network of civil societies and churches for election awareness.
The allocation of separate polling booths for women was a success in Chimbu, the team noted.
It said: “The Chimbu election team championed the women polling booth and for the first time in the polling history in the highlands region, women polled in large numbers un-harassed and, for many, it was their first time to actually vote.
“This is a significant and unique breakthrough to gender empowerment and participation.
“The Chimbu election team have not been commended for this innovative initiative and have not been supported with additional funding to ensure that this system is further improved.
“This is the system that must be also adopted nationwide to enable women to vote without any duress.”