Dear Editor – I write in response to a front page article carried in the Weekend Sun newspaper issue no.1990 dated February 7th 2015.
The article title “Sir Allan refuses to vacate residence “merely went out with all the wrong intension, and can be summed up as character assassination against me.
From the outset, the author of the article by name of Philip Lilomo stands to be questioned on professionalism as a journalist because of his biased reporting of the issue.
Since the so called reporter fail to seek my view, he miserably mislead the public with incorrect information.
May I remind Mr Lilomo and the Weekend Sun newspaper as the publisher of the article that such assassination style of reporting with incorrect facts could amount to legal challenging for defamatory law suit in the courts?
At this juncture, may I correct Mr Lilomo of the Weekend Sun newspaper that I have never refused to vacate the official residence of the Speaker of Parliament.
If you had taken the courtesy to ask me why, I am still occupying the residence, then you would certainly know why? That would also avoid the unnecessary burden of having to waste my time in replying to unfounded allegations.
In reality, the truth of the matter is basically based on the following facts:
I resign from my position as speaker of National Parliament in order to contest for the Savo/Russell Islands Parliamentary Seat in the November 2014 National Election. Unfortunately I lost in the contest for the seat.
However I was still allowed to reside in the speaker’s official residence because I was required under parliamentary standing orders to officially hand-over the job to the newly elected speaker who replaces me.
I was fully aware of the fact that I was allowed a time limit of 14 days after the handover ceremony to vacate the residence. However, when I approached the new Prime Minister Manaseh Sogavare about my departure, I was verbally asked to stay on a little while, while the issue of accommodation for the PM and speaker are sorted out.
Furthermore, he indicated that due to the poor condition of the PM official residence at Vavaea Ridge, his office was making short term arrangement to accommodate the PM and the speaker .
That short term arrangement as you and I are fully aware of, was the Speaker, Ajilon Jasper Nasiu was accommodated at his private residence at Lungga.
At no time had I asked to purchase of the speaker’s official’s residence. All I am aware of is that the Prime Minister had indicated that since the last parliament had passed the Prime Ministers (pensions and benefits) Bill 2014 and that has already been gazetted as an Act, government was obliged to carry out function specified in the Act regrading conditions and benefits attach to Prime Ministers.
As former Prime Minister myself, I was relying on PM’s assurance to work on the relevant conditions and benefits I would entitled to under the Act.
In case you are not aware of, precedent has been set in the past former Prime Ministers were allowed to own executive official residential homes they were official occupying at the end of their official term in office.
Of course there were Prime Ministers whose terms in office were marred and short lived by political in–fighting and never survived a full term of four years like I did during time as Prime Minister.
In brief, all I got after my full term as Prime Minister is my normal pensions like others. The indication or impression as to why the Prime Minister had allowed me to hang on in the Speaker’s official residence while his officials in liaison with Parliament office consider any prospect of benefits I might be entitled to under the new Prime Ministers pension and benefits Acts 2014.
Perhaps what the Prime Ministers has in mind is that if other former Prime Ministers where given the benefits of owning official residence from governments as matter of privilege, could the same be extended to Sir Allan?
Sir Allan Kemakeza
Former Prime Minister