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Solomon Islands PM Sogavare voted out

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was ousted in Monday’s motion of no confidence, warranting the election of a new Prime Minister along with the formation of the new government soon.

The 10 Members of the Opposition and Independent Group together with the 17 deserters of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) who joined their fold stuck together till the motion was voted on and passed late on Monday.

The 10 Opposition and Independent Group MPs and the 17 MPs who switched from the government to join them were: Jeremiah Manele, Rick Hou, Steve Abana, Connelly Sandakabatu, Peter Tom, Dr Culwick Togamana, Dr Derek Sikua, Matthew Wale, Douglas Ete, Bodo Dettke, Derick Manuari, Manasseh Maelanga, Danny Philip, Snyder Rini, Moffat Fugui, David Dei Pacha, Chris Laore, Jimmy Lusibaea, Alfred Ghiro, Sam Idurii, Martin Kealoe, Samson Maneka, Namson Tran, David Tome, Lionel Alex, Charles Sigoto and Elijah Doromuala.

The Prime Minister maintained the support of the 22 ministers and backbenchers who remained with him since the mass resignation the previous weekend until the end.

They are; John Maneniaru, Peter Shanel, Stanley Sofu, Dudley Kopu, Augustine Auga, Milner Tozaka, William Marau, Freda Tuki, Ishmael Avui, John Dean Kuku, Samuel Manetoali, Nestor Giro, Moses Garu, Dr Tautai Kaitu’u Angikimua, Silas Tausinga, Andrew Manepora, Bartholomew Parapolo, Dickson Mua, Commins Mewa, Jimson Tanangada, Jackson Fiulaua and Bradley Tovosia.

Mover of the motion, the Independent Group Leader Dr Derek Sikua, before moving the motion asked Sogavare to resign stating that he no longer enjoys the majority support of Parliament or face the humiliation of going through the motion.

But an adamant Sogavare opted to face the motion saying he wanted Parliament to discuss the reasons warranting his removal because motion was triggered by the mass resignation of government ministers and backbenchers to the opposition.

With the response by the East Choiseul MP, Dr Derek Sikua proceeded with the motion.

Dr Sikua said the MPs who switched to the Opposition have not taken the decision to exit the Sogavare-led Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) without proper consideration and reflection on what has happened over the last three years under the leadership of the East Choiseul MP.

He said the MPs did not resign from the government because they opposed the Anti-Corruption Bill but rather due to the apparent fact that well-intentioned DCCG policies would not be achieved under the leadership of Prime Minister Sogavare.

“This is because I believe we have lost direction due to being bogged down with matters that have little to do with advancing the affairs of Solomon Islands as a nation.”

Dr Sikua said having worked as a Minister of Education under the Sogavare leadership for eight months since the DCCG took office in December 2014, he knew the East Choiseul MP as someone that was suspicious of anyone who stood up to him or differed from his viewpoint.

He added that all too often, Sogavare saw it fit to lower himself to subject to advice from individuals with dubious characters and competence rather than listening to the advice of his ministers who put him and keep him in power.

Dr Sikua further added that Sogavare’s appointment of relatives and cronies as political appointees on high salaries at tax-payers’ expense with no regard to either qualification or experience ran against the grain of good governance.

“The Prime Minister is hypocritical when it comes to everyone else about good governance, accountability and transparency.

“Good governance, accountability and transparency are mandatory for everyone else but only optional for the Prime Minister.

“What qualifications and experience does his nephew who occupies the position of Chief of Staff in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) possess?

In addition, the Independent Group Leader said Sogavare’s lack of transparency about his private financial dealings demonstrated his lack of sound judgement.

He said he believed Sogavare had benefitted personally by using his office as Prime Minister.

Dr Sikua said he had taken this matter up with the Leadership Code Commission but was still of the view that the case was not thoroughly investigated.

Other Opposition and Independent MPs who contributed to the motion spoke of Sogavare as a non-consultative leader who seemed to listen more to outsiders than his ministers.

Sogavare, in his response to the mover of the motion and supporters of the motion who contributed to the debate, stated that the reasons tendered against him failed to convince any normal right-thinking individual to support the motion.

“I expected the mover of the motion and those who spoke in support of it to say a little more to justify their decision to bring me and the government down,” he added.

The East Choiseul MP rejected the allegations raised about his leadership as totally unfounded as he had been very consultative when it comes to making important decisions of national interest.

As to the accusation of him employing his nephew as Chief of Staff in the PMO, the Prime Minister said the Dr Sikua was hypocritical in making that allegation as he himself employed relatives as Political Appointees when he was with the government and the officers are still working in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Sogavare also uttered the same remarks about other government MPs who joined the Opposition and Independent group recently.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sogavare remains in office as caretaker Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is voted together with the formation of a new government.

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