By DONALD WILLIE
THE Electoral Commission has been petitioned by the Goilala people not to engage district public servants of Goilala descent as polling officials in the up-coming Goilala Open by-election.
A letter signed by councillors, magistrates, representatives from the churches, women and youth representatives, village chiefs and general population from the three LLGs claimed that the assistant retaining officers (AROs) named to look after each LLG area have previously been involved in corrupt activities during election period.
All they are asking for is a fair and transparent election and wish to have the AROs appointed to be from other Central districts and not from Goilala.
Former MP for Goilala, Mathew Poia, said these men had political and personal affiliations with candidates, which led to corrupt deals being made between parties.
He also said one of the AROs has in the past been thrown behind the bars for a while before being released on bail after he was caught smuggling ballot papers into the counting room in a previous election.
The people plan to hold a peaceful protest today at the Central provincial administration office against the nominations of the assistant retaining officers.
They said similar to the appointment of the retaining officers, the three AROs should also be from outside the district of Goilala so as to carry out a fair election.
Cited in the letter to the Electoral Commissioner, public servants (named) have in the past made boastful public announcements under the influence of liquor of how they have made candidates win elections.
It is also alleged in the letter that the public servants claimed the right to travel in hired vehicles, spend nights in guest houses and receive money from district coffers at will.