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  • Nigel Akuani

Caritas PNG launches Awareness on 2022 Election

Port Moresby: Caritas Papua New Guinea (CPNG) officially launched its Electoral Education and Awareness Program in preparation for the 2022 National General Elections.

Held on Tuesday 15th February 2022, at the Catholic Bishops Conference Centre in Waigani, the launching was a way of creating awareness on individual rights and responsibilities particularly among women and youth. Present during the ceremony were Priests, Religious, Media personnel, staff of CBCPNGSI and members of the Catholic Professionals Society PNG.

In a formal statement released by CPNG, as part of its advocacy and awareness campaigns on the National General Election in 2022, “Caritas PNG is targeting a population of 3 million Papua New Guineans through community visits, radio and TV messaging, social media and SMS blasts”.

According to CPNG National Director, Mavis Tito, “Caritas PNG believes that women and youths can only vote for good representatives if they know their rights and responsibilities, the value of their votes and are also given the opportunity to vote without fear or favour. This is possible if we all rally behind the women and youth of this nation to make their mark on the ballot papers, free from all forms of violence and intimidation.”

In her recollection of the poor participation of youth in the past National Election held in 2017, Ms Tito, maintained that she hoped to see more youth actively involved in this year’s Elections. “Statistics indicate that youth participation in the last Elections was very poor. But with support from a generous donor and in partnership with the PNG Electoral Commission, CPNG aims to empower the eligible voters of this nation to make the right decisions when casting their votes,” she emphasized.

The document further expressed that Caritas PNG will also be working in partnership with law enforcement officials, leaders from the public service and tribal leaders in the country to promote justice and peace during the Elections.

Before delivering the closing prayer, Fr Giorgio Licini PIME, General Secretary of CBCPNGSI, described the launch as the preparation phase for much of the work that will centre around the population residing around the rural areas and electorates. “There is much to be done to ensure and avoid any physical confrontation this election period. The election should be an opportunity to debate, participate, share and exchange ideas,” he stated.

He added that, “There should be a good electoral exercise for the country where there is a common effort to have fairness and peace that ultimately will benefit and create opportunities for all citizens of Papua New Guinea.”

Director of Migrants and Refugee Desk, Jason Siwat, said the Electoral Education and Awareness Program already had in engagement tertiary students from the PNG University of Natural Resources and Environment, Divine Word University, and the University of PNG. “The students have shown a keen interest to participate and our main job in supporting them is to provide the essential logistics when rolling out the program. This is not a political campaign but an urgent awareness for society on the importance of exercising your right to vote with responsibility, a person of integrity and credentials,” he explained.

Mr Siwat urged the general public to take on the responsibility of educating others to ensure the next 5 years was one of prosperity. “The message of this Advocacy Campaign is for our youths and intending candidates. The National Elections is not a competition and should be treated and overseen freely and, in all fairness,” he concluded.

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