The PARTY’s Parliamentary Wing leader and Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has written to Chiefs, Village Elders, and Church Leaders of the South Choiseul Constituency, informing them of Mrs. Tutua’s candidacy as OUR PARTY’s choice.
Mr. Sogavare is the Member of Parliament for North East Choiseul.
The Solomon Star has obtained a copy of Mr. Sogavare’s letter, dated 20th January this year. It was signed by Mr. Sogavare. The one-page letter was on the Prime Minister’s Letterhead and is an “Open Letter to All Chiefs, Village Elders, and Church Leaders of South Choiseul Constituency.”
His use of the Prime Minister’s official Letterhead for Constituency matters has the potential to be questioned.
The letter began thus:
“ENDORSEMENT OF NANETTE TUTUA AS THE OFFICIAL CANDIDATE TO CONTEST THE SOUTH CHOISEUL PARLIAMENTARY SEAT IN THE COMING BY-ELECTION UNDER THE BANNER OF OUR PARTY”
“This is to confirm that the OWNERSHIP, UNITY and RESPONSIBILITY PARTY (OUR Party) is putting up NANETTE TUTUA as its official candidate to contest the South Choiseul Parliamentary Seat in the coming bi-Election.
“OUR Party commands 35 seats in the current Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) with a total of 38 seats out of the 50 seats Parliament. This makes OUR Party the biggest Party in the current 11th Parliament.
“It is important therefore that the candidate elected must be a member of the government for the smooth implementation of the ruling government’s development program in the constituency, especially with the intention of the government to review the current RCDF program,” the letter said.
“It has been my desire all along as a leader of Lauru to have all three members of Parliament of Choiseul Province together in Government. We have not been able to achieve this objective since 1997. The coming Bi-Election is a wonderful opportunity for us to achieve that objective.
“I would also like to appeal to the people of South Choiseul to think in terms of quality leadership and integrity in choosing the next leader of the constituency, not gender, bribe and other influences,” the letter said.
“For that reason, I want to recommend to you NANETTE TUTUA, who I am convinced possess the qualities desired. May God lead and guide you into making a decision that will be for the best interest of South Choiseul and Lauru, and not for the (narrow) interest of candidates and their sponsors,” the letter said.
Mrs. Tutua could not be contacted for comments.
She served on the Board of the Public Service Commission until a few years ago until her term had lapsed. She told friends and others that Prime Minister Sogavare had turned down the idea that she took over the Chairmanship of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
It is unclear when the by-election would be held, although both the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and the Office of the Prime Minister have maintained the date for the election is subject to the availability of funds.
There are speculations that the real reason for excluding the South Choiseul by-election from the other two bye-elections last November was not due to lack of funding, but to allow time for the government to select its candidate.
“It has nothing to do with money – the ruling government has deliberately delayed the by-election for South Choiseul so that it has the time to select its candidate,” one observer said.
“Now that it has concluded the selection of a candidate, we can be sure a date for the bye-election would soon be announced,” the observer said.
By ALFRED SASAKO