Acting Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Maelanga in a reply to the Civil Society Organization (CSO) petition early this month calling for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, has clarified that by virtue of the Constitution- this is an unlawful approach which undermines a democratically elected government.
In a reply letter dated 11th October 2019 addressed to the 15 of the signatories under Development Services Exchange (DSE), PM (Ag) Hon. Maelanga acknowledged the contents of the petition but he pointed out the need for CSO’s to properly understand the principles and rules of operation in a Parliamentary Democracy.
He highlighted the prevalent points which CSO’s need to take heed of:
i. A number of these CSO’s are unregistered and therefore, lack any legal standing
ii. Some are not affiliates of DSE which questions the ability of DSE to act on their behalf and
iii. Credibility of some of the CSO’s are questionable as representatives of CSO’s have signed without the knowledge and sanction of their various Executives.
PM (Ag) Maelanga also questions the validity of DSE to legitimately perform its functions since their registration history amounts to misrepresentation and is punishable under our penal code.
“The Constitution provides for the only avenue to appoint and remove a Prime Minister.”
‘The CSO’s do not have any right to demand the removal of the Prime Minister or any other Member of Parliament or elected leaders,” Hon. Maelanga stated in his response letter.
He reiterated that the petition submitted by the CSOs is therefore unlawful.
He further pointed out that the CSO’s claims of ‘Majority Voice as unfounded and borders on fraud.
“There is no evidence whatsoever, that the supporters or sponsors of the petition represent the majority of our population. The truth is that CSO’s only command the support of persons residing in Honiara and in particular areas where they have a presence.
He calls on members of the CSO’s to seriously consider new leadership in light of the unlawful actions taken by some of their leaders.
The Acting PM also understand the right for CSO’s to voice their concerns, yet reminded them of procedures for such forums.
“The proper procedure would be for a CSO to request to meet with the responsible authority and raise any issue affecting the programs they represent.”
Hon. Maelanga however encourages CSO’s to maintain constructive dialogue with the government as a partners in achieving social unity.
“Social disharmony and divisiveness is counterproductive to our national development objectives.
‘It would be advisable that in future, it is always good practice to ensure that legal advice is sought prior to taking any such action,” Hon. Maelanaga added.
“This is to ensure that your actions do not end up being unlawful,” he further stated.
The letter is copied to: Solomon Islands National Council of Women, Solomon Islands Development Trust, Coalition of education of Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal Council of women, Literacy association of Solomon Islands, Vois Blo Mere Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Association, People with Disabilities Solomon Islands, Young women in parliament group, Sycamore tree fellowship, Young women Christian association , All people education authority, Transparency Solomon Islands and West Are’are Rokatanikeni Association.