Indonesia is losing Melanesia

Indonesia is losing MelanesiaVanuatu Dailypost –  – On Sunday last week, New Zealand-based analyst Jose Sousa-Santos commented on Twitter that “Indonesia’s attempt at buying support from the Pacific region seem to have little to no impact on Melanesia’s stance on [West] Papua.

”That’s one of those pesky observations that’s neither entirely right nor entirely wrong. The truth is: Indonesia is winning almost every battle… and still losing the fight.

Conventional wisdom used to be that Indonesia had built an impregnable firewall against Melanesian action in support of West Papuan independence. Its commercial and strategic relationship with Papua New Guinea is such that PNG’s foreign affairs establishment will frankly admit that their support for Indonesia’s territorial claims is axiomatic. Call it realpolitik or call it timidity, but they feel that the West Papuan independence doesn’t even bear contemplating.

Widespread grassroots support and its popularity among progressive up-and-comers such as Gary Juffa don’t seem to matter. As long as Jakarta holds the key to economic and military tranquillity, Port Moresby’s elites are content to toe the Indonesian line.

The situation in Suva is similar. Fiji First is naturally inclined is toward a more authoritarian approach to governance. And it seems that the military’s dominance of Fiji’s political landscape dovetails nicely with Indonesia’s power dynamic.

Many argue that Fiji’s relationship is largely mercenary. It wouldn’t flourish, they say, if the path to entente weren’t strewn with cash and development assistance. That’s probably true, but we can’t ignore the sincere cordiality between Fiji’s leadership and their Indonesian counterparts. The same seeds have been planted in Port Vila, but they haven’t take root.

Until recently, Indonesia’s ability to derail consensus in the Melanesian Spearhead Group has ensured that West Papuan independence leaders lacked even a toehold on the international stage. In the absence of international recognition and legitimacy, the Indonesian government was able to impose draconian restrictions on activists both domestically and internationally.

Perhaps the most notorious example was their alleged campaign to silence independence leader Benny Wenda, who fled Indonesia after facing what he claims were politically motivated charges designed to silence him. He was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, but a subsequent red notice—usually reserved for terrorists and international criminals—made travel impossible.

In mid-2012, following an appeal by human rights organisation Fair Trials, Interpol admitted that Indonesia’s red notice against Mr Wenda was ‘predominantly political in nature’, and removed it.

Since then, however, activists have accused Indonesia of abusing anti-terrorism mechanisms to curtail Mr Wenda’s travels. A trip to the United States was cancelled at the last moment because American authorities refused to let him board his flight. It was alleged that an Indonesian complaint was the source of this refusal.

Independence supporters claim that Indonesian truculence has also led to Mr Wenda being barred from addressing the New Zealand parliament. His appearance at the Sydney opera house with human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson received a standing ovation from the 2500 audience members… and an irate protest from Indonesian officials.

Not all of Indonesia’s efforts are overt. Numerous commentators made note of the fact that Vanuatu’s then-foreign minister Sato Kilman visited Jakarta immediately before his 2015 ouster of Prime Minister Joe Natuman. Mr Natuman, a lifelong supporter of West Papuan independence, was a stalwart backer of membership in the MSG for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, or ULMWP. He was unseated bare weeks before the Honiara meeting that was to consider the question.

Mr Kilman, along with Indonesian officials, vehemently deny any behind-the-scenes collusion on West Papua.

But even with Vanuatu wavering, something happened at the June2015 Honiara meeting that surprised everyone. Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare stage-managed a diplomatic coup, a master class in Melanesian mediation.

In June of 2015, I wrote that the “Solomonic decision by the Melanesian Spearhead Group to cut the baby in half and boost the membership status of both the ULMWP and Indonesia is an example of the Melanesian political mind at work. Valuing collective peace over individual justice, group prosperity over individual advancement, and allowing unabashed self-interest to leaven the sincerity of the entire process, our leaders have placed their stamp on what just might be an indelible historical moment.

”Since then, the sub-regional dynamic has undergone a transformation. Mr Kilman’s administration suffered a collapse of unprecedented proportions following corruption charges against more than half of his government. The resulting public furore seems—for the moment at least— to have catalysed a backlash against venality and personal interest.

If the rumours are true, and Indonesia did have a hand in Mr Kilman’s palace coup, the tactic hasn’t worked since. A pair of no confidence motions—not very coincidentally on the eve of yet another MSG leaders’ summit—failed even to reach the debate stage.

Kanaky’s support for West Papuan Independence has never wavered, but given their semi-governmental status, and their staunch socialist platform, Jakarta would be hard pressed to find a lever it could usefully pull.

For his part, Sogavare has survived more than one attempt to topple him. Hi sown party leaders explicitly referenced his leadership on the West Papuan question when they tried to oust him by withdrawing their support.

In a masterful—and probably unlawful—manoeuvre, Mr Sogavare retained his hold on power by getting the othercoalition members to endorse him as their leader. His deft handling of the onslaught has raised him in the estimation of many observers of Melanesian politics. Some claim that his dodging and weaving has placed him in the first rank of Melanesia’s political pantheon.

In Vanuatu as well, once bitten is twice shy. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai raised eyebrows when he not only met with the ULMWP leadership, but accepted the salute of a contingent of freedom fighters in full military regalia. The meeting took place at the same moment as MSG foreign ministers met to consider rule changes that, if enacted, will almost inevitably result in full membership for the ULMWP.

The MSG has traditionally operated on consensus. If these rule changes pass muster, this will no longer be the case. It is a near certainty that Indonesia will do its utmost to avert this.

Mr Sogavare has demonstrated an inspired approach to the situation: If the MSG won’t stand for decolonisation in the Pacific, he asks, what is it good for? This rhetoric has become a chorus, with senior politicians in Vanuatu and Kanaky joining in.

Mr Sogavare is, in short, embarked on his own march to Selma. And he is willing to allow the MSG to suffer the slings and arrows of Indonesian opprobrium. He is, in short, willing to allow the MSG to die for their sins.

Whether we agree or not with the independence campaign, there is no denying the genius of Mr Sogavare’s ploy. His willingness to sacrifice the MSG for the cause takes away the one lever that Indonesia had in Melanesia.

His key role in orchestrating an end run around the Pacific Islands Forum’s wilful silence is another trademark move. When human rights concerns were simply glossed over in the communiqué, he and other orchestrated a chorus of calls for attention to the issue in the UN general assembly.

Manasseh Sogavare and his Pacific allies have found a strategy that is making the advancement of the West Papuan independence movement inexorable. As Ghandi demonstrated in India, as with Dr King’s campaign for civil rights showed again and again, anything less than defeat is a victory.

Without losing a single major battle, Indonesia is—slowly, so slowly—being forced from the board.

Sogavare: Para pemimpin MSG wajib hasilkan keputusan positif

Ketua MSG, Perdana Menteri Sogavare (tengah) bersama para pemimpin MSG, Perdana Menteri Charlot Salwai (kiri), dan Juru Bicara FLNKS Victor Tutugoro - IST
Ketua MSG, Perdana Menteri Sogavare (tengah) bersama para pemimpin MSG, Perdana Menteri Charlot Salwai (kiri), dan Juru Bicara FLNKS Victor Tutugoro – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – Perdana Menteri Manasseh Sogavare melakukan tur ke Vanuatu, Fiji dan PNG dalam rangka membangun konsensus dengan para pemimpin Melanesia lainnya terkait sejumlah isu penting dengan cara dialog dan persaudaraan Melanesia.

Menurutnya, dalam rilis yang dikeluarkan kantor Perdana Menteri Selasa (17/1/2017), tur tersebut menyusul pertemuan tingkat menteri Desember lalu di Port Vila, tur tersebut untuk membicarakan dua isu penting dengan para pemimpin MSG.

Isu pertama adalah restrukturisasi sekretariat MSG di Port Vila agar memastikan kesesuaiannya dengan prioritas-prioritas anggota MSG serta memberikan layanan mendesak pada warga MSG. Isu selanjutnya adalah Pedoman Keanggotaan.

Akhir tahun lalu pihak-pihak yang mendukung keanggotaan penuh ULMWP di MSG, seperti Pastor Allan Nafuki, Ketua Asosiasi  Free West Papua Vanuatu (VFWPA) mengaku kecewa karena para pemimpin MSG tidak memenuhi janji mereka mendorong keanggotaan penuh ULMWP pada di Port Vila akhir Desember lalu.

Sebelumnya, Nafuki pernah menyatakan Manasseh Sogavare mengatakan pada dirinya dengan maupun tanpa kehadiran PNG dan Fiji, KTT MSG Desember lalu akan tetap dilangsungkan dan menjamin masuknya ULMWP menjadi anggota penuh MSG.

Namun seperti diketahui, KTT para pemimpin yang berhak memutuskan status keanggotaan ternyata urung terjadi, dan pertemuan sebatas para menteri luar negeri anggota-anggota MSG membicarakan pedoman keanggotaan baru yang dibuat agar lebih berkesesuaian dengan prinsip-prinsip dasar Kemelanesiaan. Pedoman tersebut rencananya akan ditetapkan pada pertemuan KTT para pemimpin MSG yang hingga saat ini belum ditetapkan tanggal pelaksanaanya.

Tur Sogavare yang sedang berlangsung ke tiga negara anggota MSG tersebut hendak mendorong agar Pedoman Keanggotaan dan Aplikasi atas Keanggotaan Baru mendapat persetujuan.

“Kehendak saya semata-mata untuk memastikan agar Pedoman ini segera disetujui oleh para Pemimpin,” ujar Sogavare sambil mengingat kunjungan pertamanya yang berdampak positif dalam mendorong kesepemahaman terkait isu-isu di wilayah itu.

“Tujuan saya ingin mendorong dialog yang lebih sering antar pemimpin sehingga kita dapat membangun konsensus dan kesepemahaman terkait isu-isu penting di wilayah kita. Para pemimpin juga punya tanggung jawab lebih besar untuk pastikan keputusan-keputusan berdampak positif pada kehidupan warganya,” kata dia.

Sogavare mengapresiasi sambutan Perdana Menteri Vanuatu kepada delegasinya sejak tiba di Port Vila Minggu malam lalu. Pertemuan dengan Charlot Salwai dan juru bicara FLNKS Victor Tutugoro berlangsung Selasa.

Menurutnya kedua pemimpin beserta dirinya akan membangun level interaksi yang lebih erat dengan Perdana Menteri Fiji Bainimarama Jumat (20/1) dan Perdana Menteri PNG Peter O’Neill akhir Februari nanti.

Oleh sebab itu, delegasi Kepulauan Solomon dan Perdana Menteri Sogavare akan kembali ke Honiara, Kepulauan Solomon Minggu (22/1). Pertemuan dengan Peter O’Neil dipindah ke bulan Februari.

Ketua MSG akan membuat pernyataan hasil diskusinya dengan rekan-rekan MSG selama kunjungan putaran kedua, khususnya setelah menyelesaikan tur ke Port Moresby bulan depan. (*)

Bicarakan keanggotaan West Papua, Sogavare mulai tur MSG

Ketua Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG), Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon Manasseh Sogavare saat bertemu pimpinan ULMWP di Honiara tahun lalu - Jubi/Victor Mambor
Ketua Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG), Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon Manasseh Sogavare saat bertemu pimpinan ULMWP di Honiara tahun lalu – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi  – Ketua Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG), Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon Manasseh Sogavare memulai turnya ke Ibukota negara-negara anggota MSG, Jumat (13/1/2017).

Dilansir RNZI (13/1) Tur ini dilakukan Sogavare setelah gagalnya penyelenggaraan KTT para pemimpin MSG tahun lalu akibat perbedaan pandang bagaimana memposisikan diri terhadap isu West Papua.

Bulan lalu, beberapa menteri luar negeri negara-negara MSG bertemu di Port Vila dan membuat rekomendasi keanggotaan MSG, namun Frank Bainimarama , Perdana Menteri Fiji tidak hadir.

Kepulauan  Solomon dan Vanuatu selama ini yang terus membuka diri mengakomodir keanggotaan penuh West Papua di MSG sementara Fiji dan PNG menolaknya.

Indonesia yang menganggap West Papua adalah bagian Melanesia dari NKRI, sebagai anggota asosiasi berkeinginan mencegah ULMWP mendapatkan keanggotaan penuh di MSG.

Sogavare dijadwalkan bertemua Charlot Salwai, kolega politiknya di Port Vila serta juru bicara gerakan FLNKS Kaledonia Baru, Victor Tutugoro. DIa kemudian bertolak ke ke Suva, Fiji dan Port Moresby, PNG.

Menurut informasi kantor Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon, melalui tur tersebut Sogavare juga akan mengajukan Revisi Kriteria status Keanggotaan Observer, Keanggotaan Associate dan Pedoman baru MSG kepada para pemimpin tersebut.

Perdana Menteri bersama delapan anggota delegasinya, termasuk sekretaris MSG, pejabat kementerian luar negeri dan perdagangan serta anggota kepolisian khusus akan kembali ke Honiara 26 Januari mendatang.(*)

MSG considers West Papua membership

THE Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is considering full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.Indonesia currently has associate member status with the MSG and is strongly opposed to West Papua being granted full membership.

It is Indonesia’s view that West Papua already falls under their (Indonesian republic) representation in the MSG.

Foreign Ministers of the MSG member countries met in Port Vila last week to discuss guidelines which relate to the bid by West Papua for membership in the group.

Solomon Island’s foreign minister, Milner Tozaka, said the MSG leaders in July requested legal clarification on guidelines for membership.

“So that request has been attended to appropriately by the legal people and they have made a recommendation to be used for the foreign ministers to look at and then we will recommend it to the leaders for endorsement,” he explained.

Mr Tozaka confirmed that there won’t be a decision on the Liberation Movement’s application however he did say that they already have observer status.

MSG countries that have shown their support for the Liberation Movements full membership include Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS Kanaks movement.

Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have however leaned towards the Indonesian side on this issue.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, said his country’s foreign policy remained firm that Vanuatu is not completely free of colonial bondage until all of Melanesia is free.

– PacNews

Sogavare: Demi West Papua, MSG akan luaskan dukungan

PM Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare saat bertemu ULMWP di Honiara, awal tahun 2016 - Dok. Jubi
PM Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare saat bertemu ULMWP di Honiara, awal tahun 2016 – Dok. Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare menegaskan bahwa Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) akan mengikutsertakan Mikronesia, Polinesia, dan negeri-negeri Afrika untuk berjuang melawan pelanggaran HAM di West Papua.

Sogavare mengungkapkan hal tersebut di hadapan Parlemen Kepulauan Solomon ketika ditanyakan oleh Pemimpin Oposisi, Jeremiah Manele, Kamis, (15/12) seperti dilansir Solomon Star Jum’at (16/12/2016).

Menurut Sogavare, Papua Nugini dan Fiji sudah jelas memilih jalan berbeda atas persoalan West Papua dan tidak berkeinginan mengikuti tujuan dan pendirian MSG.

“PNG itu berbatasan langsung dengan Indonesia dan memilih lebih berhat-hati, sedangkan Fiji sudah punya hubungan yang kokoh dengan Indonesia,” ujar Sogavare.

Atas dasar itulah, lanjutnya, Kepulauan Solomon, Vanuatu, dan Kaledonia baru akan mengikutsertakan negeri-negeri Mikronesia dan Polinesia serta kelompok non aliansi di Afrika,” ujarnya.

Lebih lanjut Sogavare menegaskan pemerintahannya akan terus melanjutkan diplomasi terkait isu West Papua melalui pengiriman utusan khusus untuk berkonsultasi dan menjalin hubungan di negeri-negeri Pasifik.

“Kami kirimkan utusan untuk bicara dengan para pemimpin di dalam lingkaran kami sendiri dan keluar Melanesia,” ujar Ketua MSG tersebut.

Rex Horoi adalah utusan khusus Kepulauan Solomon untuk persoalan West Papua. Sogavare mengatakan masa tugas utusan tersebut akan berakhir setelah dua tahun periode kepemimpinannya di MSG.

Namun, Sogavare menghendaki persoalan ini dibicarakan di Parlemen untuk mencari cara agar tugas-tugas (penanganan West Papua) tersebut bisa tetap berlanjut walau kepemimpinannya di MSG selesai.

Indonesia sebaiknya memahami

Jeremiah Manele, Pemimpin Oposisi parlemen Solomon di kesempatan itu mengakui bahwa persoalan West Papua adalah isu kompleks karena keterkaitan antara pelanggaran HAM dan penentuan nasib sendiri.

Namun, lanjutnya, inilah pertama kalinya Pemerintah Solomon mengambil langkah proaktif terkait kebijakan ini.

“Penting sekali bagi Indonesia untuk memahami posisi kita,” kata Manele sambil berharap bahwa konsultasi dan jalinan hubungan dua arah di Pasifik tersebut dapat berlanjut. “Hal itu bisa membantu Indonesia mengerti darimana asal usul kita,” tambahnya.

Manele juga mendukung kebijakan pemerintah Kepulauan Solomon terhadap West Papua dengan menambahkan bahwa pendekatan yang sudah dilakukan sekarang tidak kontra produktif.

“Saya kira sebaiknya memang pendekatan konsultatif dan lebih dua arah harus kita lanjutkan terkait persoalan ini, agar tidak kontra produktif,” ujarnya.

Manele juga mendukung gagasan melanjutkan kebijakan ini di Parlemen setelah periode Horoi berakhir.

Awal November lalu sebuah pernyataan sikap dari Kelompok Oposisi Parlemen sempat menggugat Perdana Menteri Sogavare atas kebijakannya yang dinilai sangat konfrontatif terkait West Papua. Oposisi menghendaki perubahan pendekatan terkait isu tersebut.

“Kita semua peduli masalah pelanggaran HAM di West Papua. Namun ada cara lain menangani isu ini ketimbang mengambil pendekatan konfrontatif seperti yang dilakukan Perdana Menteri. Itu tak saja sudah mengintervensi kedaulatan Indonesia, namun juga urusan domestik negara itu,” ujar pernyataan tersebut.

Namun, dengan pernyataan tanggapan Jeremiah Manele, pemimpin oposisi, Kamis lalu itu di hadapan parlemen, tampaknya Pemerintah Solomon dan Parlemen pada akhirnya melanjutkan komitmen mengadvokasi persoalan pelanggaran HAM dan penentuan nasib sendiri West Papua dengan pendekatan yang lebih partisipatif.(*)

PM: MSG seeks wider support for West Papua

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has include Micronesia, Polynesia, and African countries to fight against human rights violations in West Papua.

Mr Sogavare explained this in Parliament when asked by Opposition Leader, Jeremiah Manele on Thursday.

He said Papua New Guinea and Fiji have taken different stand on this issue and did not want to follow the purpose and stand of MSG.

“PNG shares the same border with Indonesia and want to take cautious and Fiji has fixed connections with Indonesia,” Mr Sogavare said.

“Therefore, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia will include the Micronesia and Polynesia countries ply non alliance group in Africa,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Sogavare said the government will continue with the shuttle diplomacy of sending the envoy to consult and engage in Pacific countries.

“We send our envoy to talk with the leaders within our own circle and outside of Melanesia,” the MSG chair said.

Rex Horoi is the Solomon Islands’ special envoy to West Papua.

Mr Sogavare said the envoy’s term will end after his two years with MSG lapses.

However, he wants to take it up to Parliament to find ways to continue after the chair of MSG ends.

Opposition leader, Mr Manele said it’s a complex issue because it involves self-determination and human rights.

However, he said this is the first time for the government to take a proactive step on this policy.

“It’s important for Indonesia to understand our position,” Mr Manele said.

“I hope the engagement and consultation go on, can help Indonesia to understand where we are coming from,” he added.

“I guess it’s advisable for more engaging and consultative approach we continue to take on this matter, at the end of the day, not counter-productive,” he said.

Mr Manele supports the idea to continue with a policy in Parliament after the end of Mr Horoi’s term.

By EDDIE OSIFELO

Solomon Islands Signs Melanesian Free Trade Agreement

Prime Minister Sogavare signing the new MSG Free Trade Agreement. Looking on are the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Milner Tozaka, Deputy Director-General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Kilpak and an Administrative Officer from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ms Joy Tealiklava.
Prime Minister Sogavare signing the new MSG Free Trade Agreement. Looking on are the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Milner Tozaka, Deputy Director-General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Kilpak and an Administrative Officer from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ms Joy Tealiklava.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare became the first Melanesian leader to sign the MSG Melanesian Free Trade Agreement, pledging his government’s full support for ratification of the Trade Agreement, as formalities are set down.

The MSG Free Trade Agreement is an expansion of the former agreements and includes trade in services, investment and labour mobility.

Prime Minister Sogavare who is also the MSG Chair, was elated at the new development in the sub-regional trade deal saying the agreement signals a new area for trade within the Melanesian region.

“Solomon Islands is happy to sign. Strategically, it is the right thing to do now”, he said when signing the new Melanesian Free Trade Agreement last Friday in Honiara.

He hailed the new trade agreement as ‘one of the answers’ to aid the economies of the Melanesian bloc, praising the contributions of the MSG Secretariat, as he thanked the MSG delegation. “Melanesia countries have more to gain out of this opportunity and I am excited as MSG Chair,” he said.

He said the signing of the new free trade agreement will harness the strengths and tap the opportunities of the Melanesian economies as they move to implement a free and integrated trade zone.

“It is just appropriate that we conclude this signing process,” he said, “As the Pacific island countries are moving towards completing the regional PACER- PLUS with Australia and New Zealand”.

The Melanesia Free Trade Agreement will come into force as long as two MSG Members ratify the Agreement.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Milner Tozaka said the Cabinet of Solomon Islands agreed to ratify the Trade Agreement once ratification processes are put in place.

Deputy Director General of MSG Secretariat Molean Kilepak said the next countries to sign will be Fiji and Papua New Guinea followed by Vanuatu.

Mr Kilepak thanked Prime Minister Sogavare on behalf of the Director General Amena Yauvoli, for taking the lead as the first country to ink the milestone achievement.

“It is a milestone for the MSG Secretariat and a great achievement for Melanesia”, said Mr Kilepak.

The signing was witnessed by Minister Tozaka, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Joseph Ma’ahanua, Special Secretary to MSG Chair, Mr Rence Sore and MSG Secretariat Programme Manager, Trade and Investment, Mr John Licht.

Move to kick Solomons PM out of party invalid: AG

radionz – The Solomon Islands attorney general says a decision to revoke the party membership of the prime minister is invalid.

Manasseh Sogavare
Manasseh Sogavare Photo: RNZI Koroi Hawkins

 

Pacnews reported James Apaniai saying that, in his opinion, the United Democratic Party president Sir Thomas Chan did not comply with the regulations of the Political Parties Integrity Act or his party’s own constitution when he terminated prime minister Manasseh Sogavare’s party membership earlier this month.

Mr Apaniai said according to the UDP’s constitution only a disciplinary committee can terminate an individual’s party membership.

He said there were also no charges laid against Mr Sogavare which is required by both the Political Party Integrity Act regulations as well as the UDP party’s constitution.

The attorney general said the original decision was reached after discussions between the executives of the three government coalition parties which he said was also wrong as party membership is an internal matter.

Mr Apaniai also clarified that the status of Mr Sogavare’s party membership had no bearing on his position as prime minister.

Sogavare tetap bertugas sebagai perdana menteri

 Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare bersama Presiden JICA, Shinichi Kitaoka di Honiara, Rabu (16/11/2016).—Solomonstarnews.com
Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare bersama Presiden JICA, Shinichi Kitaoka di Honiara, Rabu (16/11/2016).—Solomonstarnews.com

Honiara, Jubi – Kendati disingkirkan dari partai politiknya tempat bernaung, Perdana Menteri Kepulauan Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare tetap bertugas sebagai perdana menteri. Rabu (16/11/2016), Sogavare menerima kunjungan presiden badan kerjasama pembangunan internasional dari Jepang (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka.

Dalam pertemuan itu, Sogavare berterima kasih kepada Kitaoka atas kerjasama pembangunan yang telah dilakukan bersama Kepulauan Solomon. Sogavare berharap agar kerjasama itu terus berlanjut.

Shinichi mengatakan bahwa JICA berencana melanjutkan kerjasama membantu Kepulauan Solomon dalam bidang pembangunan infrastruktur, perubahan iklim, manajemen air dan limbah dan pembangunan sumber daya manusia.

Sogavare berharap agar JICA juga bisa mendukung rencana pemerintah Kepulauan Solomon dalam memerangi korupsi, perubahan iklim dan strategi manajemen infrastruktur. Ia juga menjelaskan bahwa pemerintah tengah menjalankan reformasi untuk memperkuat stabilitas politik.

Kitaoka mengatakan stabilitas politik adalah syarat utama dan terpenting dalam pembangunan yang berkelanjutan. JICA sebagai badan kerjasama Pemerintah Jepang akan terus mendukung pemerintahan Kepulauan Solomon. Ia juga mengaku senang dengan kinerja JICA di Honiara.

Dukungan

Setelah Partai Persatuan Demokratik (UDP) menyingkirkan Sogavare sebagai anggota, ia tetap terlihat optimistis akan tetap menjalani masa jabatannya hingga tahun keempat. “Kaukus pemerintahan telah menunjukkan dukungan kuat bagi kepemimpinan Perdana Menteri Manasseh Sogavare,” ujar Kaukus Pemerintahan dalam pernyataan pers yang dirilis pekan lalu sesaat sesudah muncul pengumuman pencabutan keanggotaan Sogavare dari UDP.

Salah seorang pimpinan UDP, Barnabas Henson, mengatakan bahwa Sogavare memang akan tetap menjadi perdana menteri meski disingkirkan dari UDP kecuali Sogavare dicopot oleh parlemen.

Para anggota parlemen dari UDP juga telah menyatakan dukungannya kepada Sogavare. UDP adalah anggota koalisi pembentuk pemerintahan bersama dua partai lainnya yaitu partai aliansi rakyat (PAP) dan partai Kadere. Ketiga partai itu membentuk koalisi demokratik untuk perubahan (DCC). (*)

Govt Intact: Says Sogavare while refuting claims to oust him

Solomon Star News – The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has refuted claims there are moves to topple his government in this parliament sitting.

Speaking in an interview Mr Sogavare described the claim baseless.

“It is a complete lie, a typical example of desperate effort by people with dirty motives to distort matters.

“I am enjoying the support of the entire government bench,” Mr Sogavare said.

Meanwhile a Cabinet minister said most MPs and ministers within the current ruling government disagree with the Party’s president Sir Thomas Chan to terminate the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare from UDP.

The minister who wants his name witheld said the DCC government is remain solid to pass its 2017 national budget when Parliament is resume to deliberate on the budget today.

“…we are confident that we will sail through 2018 with no problems.

“They confirmed and pledged each other that there is no hidden agenda and there will be none.

“DCC has the best and right policies to move the country forward during their tenure in office and beyond.”

There are speculations that Ministers will take a mass resignation or walkout from government and support the Opposition.

However the MP refuted the claim saying: “The Ministers said that we already have a legitimate government so why should we form another one with people who are only hungry for power and position at the expense of the mass.”

Prime Minister Sogavare believes that the time has come for all leaders to set aside the shackles of doubt and suspicion that only breeds perceptions and media propaganda to influence public opinion to promote self rather than unity and peace.

However, a well placed source within UDP party said, despite PM’s claim of solidarity and infact, a rift is happening within the DCC government.

“ PM is playing the old game, and responds from our President is nothing but the truth, he did not address issues UDP have raised oftently when Cabinet meets,” the source said.

The source said the PM never respects UDP Party, the Party that puts him into power to become the country’s prime minister.

He said UDP must elect a new parliamnetary leader becasuse now PM is leading DCCG without a political party that requires a legal explanation.

“Issues we need clarification on Sogavare’s membership of UDP and leader of the coalition in the light of his removal from UDP.  These questions could be raised as a point of order in parliament tomorrow (today).”

He said Prime Minister needs to realize that DCCG is UDP, PAP and Kadere, not himself.

“His leadership of DCCG is by virtue of his membership of UDP.”

Parliament resumes this morning after being adjourned from last week.

BY ELLIOT DAWEA
FREELANCE JOURNALIST

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