26 April 2019
Governor General Frank Kabui declaring Manasseh Sogavare as the new Prime Minister on Wednesday.

GOVERNOR General Sir Frank Kabui yesterday explained why he rejected a High Court order served on him to postpone the election of the Prime Minister.

Mathew Wale, through his lawyer Gabriel Suri, obtained the order just an hour before the election was due to start 9.30am Wednesday this week.

“Whilst I have respect for the High Court order served on me on the date of the Meeting, I was of the view that I am not obliged to accept it under paragraph 11 to Schedule 2 to the Constitution,” Kabui said in an opinion piece published today on page 7 of this newspaper.

Furthermore, he said he allowed the election to proceed because in his view Solomon Islanders needed a new Government as soon as possible. 

“I have a constitutional duty to perform and I did it in the interest of the country,” he said..

Kabui’s rejection of the court order prompted the 15 MPs in Wale’s Grand Coalition group to walk out of the election at Parliament House.

The 35 remaining MPs went on to cast their ballots for Manasseh Sogavare, who was eventually declared prime minister for the fourth time.

Earlier, Wale wrote to the Governor General, asking him to consider postponing the election to another date.

This, he said, was because his group is challenging the validity of Sogavare’s candidacy in the High Court.

Kabui replied Wale’s letter, telling him he would consider it, but stated he would deal with the issue during the election Meeting.

A date before the meeting on Tuesday, Wale’s lawyer filed the case (Civil Case No. 238 of 2019) in the High Court.

An urgent hearing was presided over by Justice Francis Mwanesalua, but after submissions from counsels, the case was adjourned for today.

Suri also applied for interim orders from the High Court for the election to be delayed, which Justice Mwanesalua granted in another urgent hearing 7.30am the next day.

Kabui, a retired High Court judge, said he knew a court order is coming to delay the election, but did not receive it until when the Meeting was already proceeding.

But he said he saw a “defect” in the order.