What exactly have you done for this nation Mr Sogavare?
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare is yet to adequately address the concerns raised about his controversial $3 million payout to former MEF militants, according to three senior leaders who have warned such a move risks destabilizing the country.
Former Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, and the Chair and deputy Chair of the Solomon Islands Intervention Taskforce, Sir Paul Tovua and Joses Tuhanuku said that Prime Minister Sogavare had failed to respond to their key criticisms of the payment, which they described as ‘irresponsible and illegal’ and not in keeping with the provisions of the Townsville Peace Agreement.
“Instead Mr Sogavare had tried to divert attention from the issue by launching a personal attack on the former Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza who in 2003 had asked Australia to intervene in the nation’s crisis, a move which led to the deployment of RAMSI and the nation’s return to peace,” they said in a statement.
“Unlike him, Sir Allan had risked his neck, with the support of many of the nation’s leaders, to try to bring the country back to normalcy,” Sir Paul and Mr Tuhanuku said.
“What exactly has Mr Sogavare ever done for peace in this country?” they asked.
“Rather it looks more like he has capitalized on the nation’s troubles, first coming to power in the parliamentary election of the PM carried out under the barrel of the gun following the June 2000 coup and then in the wake of the 2006 riots when the country’s MPs had been intimidated by the actions of his cronies.”
The three leaders issued a fresh statement in response to one from Mr Sogavare earlier this week in which he described people who had fled Honiara during the ethnic tensions as “cowards with their tail between their legs”’.
“This was a cruel and unnecessary insult to those Solomon Islanders who in desperation had returned to their home provinces during some of the nation’s darkest days,” Sir Paul said.
“Mr Sogavare was not in a position to criticize anyone for not coming and speaking to him personally about their concerns with regard to the payment as it was really up to him to have consulted with those leaders who had worked to return the country to peace.
“He knows who we are but he has done this off his own bat and he must bear responsibility for the consequences,” Mr Tuhanuku said.