Demand on Sogavare to step down gaining momentum
DEMAND by ex-combatants that Manasseh Sogavare step down as Prime Minister (PM) is gaining momentum amongst unemployed youths, one of the key members of the group told Solomon Star in an exclusive interview in Honiara yesterday.
At the same time, the man who requested anonymity indicated that some form of secret negotiations is going on between the government and the group to help ease the tense situation.
“There is no change to the demand. He (Mr. Sogavare) must step down. That is the key demand, which must be met,” the man said.
While the man has expressed some cautious optimism, he remained unsure that Mr. Sogavare would oblige.
“We are hearing on the sideline he did not want to go. But let me say this. His response to our demand will determine the next cause of action. I can tell you it could be worse than the ethnic tension,” the man said.
Asked about the truth of the story which appeared on the front page of the Solomon Star yesterday, the man said the story was true and correct.
“That is the situation. We have the guns, we have the ammunition and we have the people who are angry that the government under Mr. Sogavare’s leadership over four terms has ignored our claims.
“We believe a new leader would be better placed to honor government commitments to pay us. We have no confidence whatsoever that Mr. Sogavare would honor his commitment. He is good on promises but not on delivery,” the man said.
The man said the group is closely monitoring the government’s position in terms of the demand for Mr. Sogavare to step down as Prime Minister.
“I think we have reached a very delicate stage. Every single word matters.”
Meanwhile, there appears to be some cracks in the unity of the various groups demanding Mr. Sogavare’s removal from Office.
The man said North Malaita and Kwara’ae appear to be moving away from the initial demand.
“In the case of the Kwara’ae ethnic group, there’s a lot of suspicion about the reconciliation between Mr. Sogavare and ex-combatant Moses Su’u earlier this week.
“We don’t know whether a similar situation is affecting the support from the North Malaita group. Whatever it is, let me make it clear that no one wants to return to the dark days of the ethnic tension.
“But Mr. Sogavare must honor his commitment. That is all we are asking and if he is not going to do it, he should step down immediately,” the man said.
By Alfred Sasako