07/12/2012 08:21

Highlands dioceses evaluate2012 National General Elections

07 DEC 2012. At the initiative of the Catholic Bishops of the Highlands, the Catholic Churches in the Region met in Good Shepherd Seminary Banz for one week, 3-7 December, to audit the 2012 National General Elections.

Four audit participants came from each of the Seven Highlands Provinces representing the wider communities including the two new provinces of Hela and Jiwaka.

Participants included key people who were involved in the election such as election observers, lay people, priests, religious sisters, Caritas coordinators, researchers from the Melanesian Institute, and the Bishops.

The reason for this audit was to evaluate the 2012General Election and to see what the Church can learn from the experiences of its people and to help prepare for future elections.

As a faith based organisation, the Church through this audit found out that many people’s faith was challenged, resulting in many neglecting their faith and getting involved in corrupt election activities. 

The audit revealed that there needs to be a moral transformation and renewed critical awareness by our people.  It also revealed that our cultural values, such as “bigman culture” clash with Western cultural values behind such practices as having a secret ballot. This audit has prepared some recommendations to help the Church integrate faith and life and to prepare for future elections. 

The Church reconfirms its need to work closely with the Government and NGOs to empower people to take ownership of the election.  It also notes how women must be actively participating in all aspects of elections. 

The outcome of the audit will be communicated to the Electoral Commision, sitting MPs, NGOs and other Churches to facilitate ongoing dialogue on this important issue.

(cbcpngsi.org – giorgiolicini@yahoo.com)