Following a minor reshuffle in the Cabinet line-up, MP Samson Maneka will be sworn in this Monday morning as the new Minister for National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace.
The Solomon Islands is entering into a progressive period of development and economic growth under plans unveiled by the DCC Government in the 2015 Budget Speech and the need for internal stability, peace and, yes, reconciliation must abide if the country is to make the progress envisaged.
It is some 16 years since the height of the internal conflict now regarded as the period of the ‘tensions’ and 12 years since the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) was first invited by the then Solomon Islands Government to aid the country and to put down the internal divisions.
In the years that followed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed, holding hearings in public and in closed session, before submitting final reports to the Government of the day.
The reports are still to be tabled, officially, in Parliament and the recommendations made in the reports, all 5 volumes, acted upon or implemented by the DCC Government, as promised as a pre-election pledge.
It will be Minister Maneka’s task, I feel sure, to steer through the recommendations contained in the TRC reports.
Despite the passing of the years since the tragic happenings of the years between 1999 and 2003, there are those, I suspect, who seek to know the truth of what happened and who want healing in their lives, with a closure of the regrettable past.
In undertaking his important role Minister Makeka will know, I feel sure, in any post-conflict society, everyone knows in their hearts that the simple way to reach reconciliation is by pardoning, a coming together and restoring the once shattered relationship between the opposing sides.
Melanesian custom and culture is especially suited to kastom resolution and reconciliation.
If there are still splits in the community of the nation, then the two or more sides must first inquire into the root causes that led to the split.
If those intentions were found to have been malicious or dishonest, then reconciliation will be difficult.
Only when the root causes have been shown to be reconcilable can peace and harmony occur.
As the nation approaches its 37th year of sovereignty as an independent nation it is about time to forgive and forget, for trust to take hold once again, and self-interests must not be sacrosanct.
The only thing that should be sacrificed in the name of reconciliation is self-interest and the good of the nation must come first.
We must all support Makekaas he is worn in to begin his vitally important role to lead us to the point when forgiveness, reconciliation and unity will, again, be the cornerstone of Solomon Islands society.