Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The situation remains tense in Honiara, as opposition manasseh accuses Sogavare of being ‘in the service of a foreign power’.

Solomon Islands Premier Manasseh Sogavare faces a motion of no confidence on Monday after anti-government riots last month saw dozens of buildings burnt down and shops looted in Honiara, the Pacific island capital. .

Boats were banned from the Honiara port, and more than 200 police officers and soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji are on alert amid fears that the vote could cause another outbreak of violence.

Church leaders have called for dialogue between the country’s most populous province, Malaita, and the national government to resolve a series of domestic issues amid broader geopolitical tensions.

Opposition leader Matthew Wale has raised concerns in parliament, including allegations that Sogavare used money from China in a national fund to support his political power before the vote and was “in the service of a foreign power”.

A Government Gazette notice dated 2 December shows that money has been withdrawn from the National Provident Fund in the name of 22 legislators in recent days.

Four members of parliament (MPs) resigned; a further 10 government MPs must vote against Sogavare for the no-confidence motion to pass.

“The prime minister is dependent on the NDF [National Development Fund] money to retain its political power. How can he make decisions only in the interest of the Solomon Islands? ” said Wale.

The people of the Solomon Islands are angry about inadequate health care, excellent land taken by foreigners, and logging companies dominating local interests, Wales said.

The looting and violence that erupted on November 24 should be condemned, he said, but “it pales in comparison to the looting that is happening at the top”.

Protests against the government escalated into violence that killed four people and destroyed large parts of Honiara’s Chinatown after Sogavare refused to speak to protesters traveling from Malaita province.

Malaita has a history of disputes with Guadalcanal province, where the national government is based, and he opposed the switchover by Sogavare’s government in 2019 against China formally recognized instead of Taiwan.

Malaita province was the “big brother” in the Solomon Islands family and had the ability to stand up against the national government, Wales said on Monday.

Health Minister Culwick Togamana spoke in support of Sogavare’s leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said he should not resign. There were 20 cases and no deaths in the country, according to the World Health Organization.

The vote is expected to take place later Monday.

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