“Parliament right place to unseat me”: Solomon Islands PM Sogavare

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Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare says any move to remove him from power can only be done on the floor of Parliament.

He made the statement at a televised conference last night.

The Prime Minister said he has faith and respect in the democratic process of the country and would defend it with his life.

“I am elected as the Prime Minister of our beloved country by 35 Members of Parliament who represent their people. The call for me to step down is premised on the hunger for power by certain politicians who do not have any respect for the principles of democracy and due process.

“In 2006 a precedent was set when the Prime Minister back then was asked to resign after a riot in Honiara. That event is the precedent for our current situation. If I am to step down, what message would that send to our people, children and generations to come?

“Some of us are of the opinion that if I step down the protests and riots will stop. This is the easiest decision to make. However, the effect of this decision is what weighs heavy in my heart.

“If I am removed as Prime Minister, it will be on the floor of Parliament.

“I have faith and respect in our democratic process, and I will defend it with my life. I say this with deepest conviction. Our people need to and must understand that our actions in defending democracy is not merely a lip service. It is conviction in the principles and values that underpins our democracy and all democracies around the world,” said PM Sogavare in his address to the nation.

He further blasted opposing politicians for misleading people with their own agenda.

“I am extremely saddened that people have been misled by politicians for their own agenda.

“Our unsuspecting people have continuously been misled and are victims in this sad and unfortunate situation.

“I do not blame the people who are protesting and rioting, they are citizens of our country, and unfortunately they have been used by certain politicians and individuals to further their own selfish and narrow agendas,” he added.

Sogavare said while he has contemplated giving in, the effect of such a decision is what weighs heavy in his heart.

“Are we saying to our young children and youths that whenever we are not happy with those in authority, we take the laws into our own hands? If we do this, it is a very dangerous message to our people and future generations.

“We are effectively saying to our children, take the law into your hands if whenever you are not happy.

“This must never be the message we send nor the conviction we instill in our citizens if we are to progress as a peaceful democracy.

The Prime Minister therefore said he was in contact with the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea over the matter and assistance is forthcoming.

A number of business houses east of Honiara were burned down on Thursday. Major businesses such as Bank South Pacific, Island Enterprise and others along the Ranadi Industrial area were looted and torched by angry mobs.

“This is a sad day indeed, but it will be an even sadder day if I do not defend the principles of democracy and the future of our country unless there is any justified reason for my resignation and subject to guidance from my colleague MP’s who form the Democratic Coalition for Advancement,” said Sogavare.

Meanwhile, Premier of Malaita province, Daniel Suidani wants the Prime Minister to address the demands of the people before he can make a call for peace.

Speaking to the local media in Auki, Premier Suidani said the situation in Honiara now needs national leaders of parties involved to come down and talk to the people and not run-away from them

“The people are there with their demand, and they want response from the Prime Minister or cabinet on their demand,” he said.

The Premier said he has been continuously bombarded with calls from leaders in Honiara to help calm the situation, but his question to them remains, “who are you?”

“These people come to you as their representatives on the national level, they voted you, just the same as they voted me to be their representative at the provincial level.
“And the issue is directed at you and not me, so it would be appropriate in my view for national members to address the issue and not to run-away from it,” he said.

Suidani said even if he makes a call to calm the situation it won’t work as people will turn on him, because the peoples’ demand is not directed at him.

He said the situation faced now has risen from the Prime Minister and cabinet’s continues tactic of evading people’s demand which has turned into frustration.

“Like every time they go to meet with the PM about their petitions, he avoided them and directed his staff to meet with the people,” Suidani said.

Suidani said the Prime Minister forgot that he is the leader of this country and of these people, so as a leader he must at all time see to the needs of the people when they want to talk to him.

“Everytime, I make calls the national government didn’t listen, now they come to you and it’s your time to deal with them.

“So I want to see if you can address them and I will call for peace, because even if I make a call now it won’t work unless you address their demand first.

“With that I call on PM that if the people wants you to resign, you resign!

“These are the people you lead and if they no longer have the confidence on you, step-down and people will calm down,” he said.

Suidani said this is the only solution to calm down the situation so that it will allow people to choose a government of their choice.

On that note, he called on Malaitan MPs in the DCGA to come out of their hide-outs and talk to the people they represent, otherwise resign from DCGA.

“And my call is for nine Malaitan MPs in the DCGA to resign now so that it would help in addressing the current situation,” he said.

SOURCE: ISLANDS SUN/PACNEWS