Guns for polls scares PNG BishopAt least three current Members of Parliament from the Enga Province and their people have been amassing guns in preparation for the general elections, the head of the Gutnius Lutheran Church said yesterday.
The Gutnius Lutheran Church is based in the Enga Province.
“I know them,” he said.
Bishop David Piso said supporters of the three MPs are saying they are gathering guns to use against their political opponents.
“This is very frightening and I am now thinking very seriously about not voting in the elections for fear of my own life,” Bishop Piso said from Wapenamanda.
“The MPs are openly arming their own family and clan members with high-powered factory-made guns and giving them police issued uniforms,” Bishop Piso said.
Bishop Piso called on the Government to take immediate action to stop guns being used to intimidate, threaten and even kill people during the elections.
“Please do not waste anymore time,” he said.
Bishop Piso also called on Christian churches throughout the country to pray for safe elections.
“We must pray to God to save our country from destruction. God only can give us peaceful elections – not the guns,” he said.
“I call on the government to immediately control the use of guns or lose freedom and democracy.
“Our personal liberty is at stake. It is under serious threat,” said Bishop Piso.
“If the government does not act now, it is the gun which will be doing the voting, not the people.
“People will not be voting according to their conscience and exercising their democratic right of freedom of choice.
“They will be told by the gun on how to exercise their freedoms,” Bishop Piso warned.
Bishop Piso said failure by the former government to implement the recommendations of the National Guns Control Committee Report had resulted in widespread increase in illegal guns being brought into the Highlands region as well as other parts of PNG in readiness for the elections.
“I am not joking and I am not saying this lightly,” he said.
Bishop Piso said what he is seeing in some parts of the Highlands region give him “the greatest fear that free elections will not be held.”
“Voters will be forced by the barrel of the gun to vote for candidates other than their own choice.
“I am seeing a very dangerous trend in the community wherever I go and it is extremely alarming.
“Police and the army must move in now and contain the guns or confiscate them or do whatever is necessary to stop these deadly weapons from being used during the elections.
“I have never seen anything like what I am seeing now….it is very frightening,” Bishop Piso said.
“When you see sitting MPs handing out police – issued uniforms to their own family and relatives, and arming them with high-powered imported factory-made guns, what does this say about the elections?, he asked.
Bishop Piso said he supported former PNG Defence Force Commander Major General (Retired) Jerry Singirok and his committee in getting people’s views about illegal guns in the country.
“Sadly, politicians have failed to do their part after receiving the report. Now we have a very serious problem on our hands which could very well disrupt the elections and bring about total chaos and anarchy,” Bishop Piso said.
“What is happening now is the result of political inaction and procastination, lack of political will to act decisively on a serious threat to our democracy and the lives of our own people.
“I am not speaking lightly about this problem. I am very concerned about what I am seeing and I call on the government in the most strongest terms to give this matter urgent attention before the start of the elections,” said Bishop Piso.
Bishop Piso has been vocal about the increasing presence of illegal guns particularly in the Highlands and warned that if the national government fails to act quickly to stop the guns from being used in the elections then they would have themselves to blame if things go wrong.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media