Government in Solomon Islands ‘collapsing’ as MPs change allegiance

Solomon Islands government 'intact' says DCCG … 18 MPs switch allegiance to Opposition, Independents. Image: Loop PNG

A change of government is likely on the horizon for the Solomon Islands after several MPs changed allegiance.

The saga unfolded on Saturday following the resignation of seven cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Manasseh Maelanga.

Other ministers include Minister for National Planning and Aid Coordination Danny Philip, Snyder Rini, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Minister of Forestry and Research Chris Laore, Moses Garu, Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Minister of Public Service Moffat Fugui and Elijah Doromuala, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

Deputy private secretary to the Governor-General, Rawcliffe Ziza, revealed the ministers resigned after losing confidence in Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Solomon Star News reports, prompting the newspaper to headline the move as ‘Government collapsing’.

The drama continued Sunday as two more ministers resigned from the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG), bringing the total number of resignations to nine, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) reports.

The ministers were Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening David Tome and Minister of Peace, National Unity and Reconciliation Samson Maneka.

Several backbenchers have also resigned, Solomon Star News reports, meaning 18 MPs have deserted Sogavare since Saturday.

MPs join Opposition
They have since joined the Opposition and Independents in a show of solidarity at the Honiara Hotel and again in parliament.

The move brought the ‘Honiara Hotel Camp’ to 29 members on Sunday, Solomon Star News reports.

Opposition ranks grow … 18 MPs switch allegiance from Sogavare-led Democratic Coalition for Change Government. Image: Solomon Star News

The SIBC also reports Sogavare will face a motion of no confidence when parliament resumes on Monday, November 6.

Speaker of Parliament Ajilon Jasper Nasiu received the motion from the leader of the Parliamentary Independent Group Dr Derek Sikua on Sunday.

According to an MP who wished to remain anonymous, a new prime minister will be elected within two weeks, the Solomon Star News reports.

“Members of the DCCG have totally lost all trust and confidence in the leadership of Sogavare.

“Sogavare has allowed his controversial nephew Robson Djokovic to control government affairs,” the MP said.

Government remains intact
It is believed Sogavare’s major cabinet shakeup – embarked on since early August – which saw several ministers reassigned and two terminated, upset the United Democratic Party, the major coalition partner of the DCCG.

A government issued statement said the government remains intact despite the walkout of nine ministers.

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