Solomons PM Sacked By Party; Retains Full Support Of Coalition Members

Sogavare confident he'll serve out his four-year term

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 11, 2016) – He may have been sacked by his political party, but Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare still enjoys the support of coalition members.

And he remains optimistic to keep his job until his four-year term lapses.

“Government Caucus has maintained its strong support for the leadership of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare,” a Caucus statement issued in response to the sacking yesterday, said.

Secretary of United Democratic Party (UDP), Barnabas Henson, has reiterated that Mr Sogavare, who is UDP’s parliamentary wing leader, has been removed from the party.

The sacking reduces UPD’s number in the coalition government to 17 MPs.

Mr Henson said the UPD executive members,that comprised President Sir Thomas Chan, vice president Danny Philip, Secretary (Henson) and Treasurer Diana Yates, agreed to remove Mr Sogavare as their wing leader.

He said the executive will meet with their 17 MPs to appoint a new wing leader.

However, Mr Henson said constitutionally, Mr Sogavare is still the prime minister and it will be up to Parliament to remove him from the post.

News of the sacking has been the subject of a meeting by commissioners of the Political Parties Commission yesterday.

Registrar of the Political Parties Commission Calvin Ziru could not be reached in time to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

Despite the sacking, UDP MPs and others in the DCC coalition were seen rallying around Prime Minister Sogavare yesterday.

UDP is one of the two Coalition Partners in the ruling Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government headed by Mr Sogavare.

The other two partners are the Peoples’ Alliance Party (PAP) and Kadere Party.

In the Government Caucus statement, UDP MPs disassociated themselves from the decision taken by Sir Tommy to remove Prime Minister Sogavare from the party.

The decision would have automatically nullified Prime Minister Sogavare from being the UDP Parliamentary Wing-Leader if it was endorsed by the UDP Executive.

The UDP MPs told Caucus that Sir Tommy took the decision unilaterally because it was never discussed and endorsed by the UDP Executive.

“We are pleased to assert that we, the Parliamentary Members of all Coalition Partners of the present DCC Government, continue to maintain the unwavering support that we have for the East Choiseul MP as the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands since the formation of the DCC Government in December 2014.

“We will continue to render this strong level of support for the leadership of Prime Minister Sogavare till the end of the DCC Government’s four-year tenure in office.”

 “We are fully aware that some forces are at work to undermine the DCC Government by destabilising the UDP in providing negligent advice to the Presidents of the Coalition Parties and misleading them into believing that the Coalition Executive is the Governing body over the Government.

“As such, the DCC Government Caucus demands that an apology be made by the Coalition Party Presidents for undermining the Executive Authority of the Government as provided for by the National Constitution,” the statement said.

It said it is of the strong conviction that any compounded differences which transpired to the unilateral decision taken by Sir Tommy, are matters to be dealt with at the UDP level and thus will allow it to deal with its issues internally.

The Caucus said the DCC Government is determined to achieve its policy objectives for the betterment of Solomon Islands during its tenure and therefore will not give in to any challenge or opposition.

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