Solomon Islands riots: Wale calls for no confidence vote in ‘hiding’ PM

Matthew Wale
Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale ... "This is the moment for leaders to stand up, and not run away and hide." Image: SBM Online

By Robert Iroga in Honiara

Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale has announced that he is filing a notice of a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare after three days of rioting has rocked the capital Honiara.

Wale said today he still did not have enough numbers for such a motion to pass, after only three resignations from Sogavare’s government so far.

The confirmed resignations are Member for West New Georgia/Vona Vona Silas Tausinga, Member for North Malaita Levi Senley Filualea, and  Member for Malaita Outer Islands Martin Kealoe.

At least 11 more MPs would need to resign for the motion to succeed.

However, Wale said he had sought a political solution to the current situation as the Prime Minister’s “lack of humility” had resulted in great loss and suffering for Solomon Islands, especially in the capital Honiara.

“No one in Honiara is spared the suffering and loss caused by the tragic events of these past few days,” he said in a statement.

“Now we have been informed there has been a tragic loss of lives.”

Leaders ‘must decide’
Wale said that without a political solution this tragic situation would remain, even with foreign forces supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to regain control and maintain order in Honiara.

“The leaders must make a decision, they cannot avoid it or postpone it. This is the moment for leaders to stand up, and not run away and hide,” Wale said.

“The level of anger in the public has reached levels worse than in 2006, and if leaders are deaf and insensitive to it, they will condemn us to more trouble.

“The anger is still here.”

Wale said he has reached out to as many MPs as he can to seek dialogue on ways forward.

He said he had decided that in the search for a political solution he had lodging the notice of the motion of no confidence so that MPs would have to decide which side they are on.

“This is a crucial motion as it calls on all Members of Parliament to do what is in the best interest of our country and people,” he said.

Plea for no more violence
Wale also called on protesters who had engaged in violence and looting to stop.

“Let us now allow the political process to resolve the situation in our search for a solution,” he said.

Wale called on the people of Solomon Islands to call on their MPs to resign from Prime Minister Sogavare’s government.

The opposition leader also expressed “great dismay” at the burning of the Prime Minister’s private residence at Lunga.

Wale said that even if people were angry with the Prime Minister, they must respect him and his family and their properties.

This level of violence not seen before was unacceptable.

Three dead bodies
Three dead bodies have been discovered in one of the burnt out buildings in Chinatown, but two have yet to be removed, SBM Online reported earlier.

The RSIPF Media Unit confirmed to SBMOnline today that the discovery was made yesterday and fire officers were called to assist clearing the building that allowed police to locate the dead bodies.

However, because of debris in the razed shop only one was removed, two others will be moved today.

Police said they were not able to identify the bodies.

Robert Iroga is editor of SBM Online. Republished with permission.

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