Nomination Day

Monday was “Nomination Day” in Menya–the kick off to the election season. Up at the “Station” near our airstrip the candidates were parading around with supporters (as in the picture above.) The parades ended at the gate of the administrative offices. Inside, there was a temporary shelter set up where the nominees made it official. Most supporters were required to stand outside a rope barrier while the paper work was filled out.

With my press-pass, I was able to get inside the barrier. The candidate sat across the table from the officiants surrounded by his closest (or most elaborately dressed) supporters.

These guys filled out the nomination form one question at a time. I overheard questions such as: “Are you over 25?” “Have you ever spent more than nine months in prison?” When the questionnaire was complete, the candidate signed and payed his 1000 kina nomination fee.

Meanwhile the next candidate was arriving with his procession.

Later the sitting member held a rally on the airstrip where a temporary grandstand (complete with band and sound system) had been constructed. Here there were about 10,000 frenzied supporters including many separate groups of traditionally dressed dancers.

This guy took up a security post on the grandstand stairs brandishing his traditional pick-axe.

The only thing

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