Solomons' civil society groups to petition PM to step down

2:53 pm on 1 October 2019

Civil society organisations in Solomon Islands are planning to petition Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to step down.

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Manasseh Sogavare. Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

As of this morning, the petition had been signed by over 2000 members of organisations working in community development, women's empowerment and youth advocacy in Solomon Islands.

The petition accuses the prime minister and his government of being self-serving in their decision making, and calls for a change in leadership.

Veteran environmental and political activist Lawrence Makili, said it came after the government issued three new prospecting licences, just months after a major environmental disaster, and made the decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China without any public consultation.

"Because we see his leadership has brought a lot of problems and a lot of confusions and politically this country is not in stable situation.

"So, we are gearing towards specifically demanding him to step down. We are looking at his leadership. We do not want his leadership," said Mr Makili, who now volunteers with local NGO Develop Services Exchange.

The petition also serves as two weeks notice for a planned public protest rally during which a more detailed list of demands will be presented to the government.

Last week, civil society organisations were publicly chastised by the prime minister's office for being vocal about the lack of consultation around the diplomatic switch from Taiwan to China.

But Mr Makili said they are unfazed by the harassment and are maintaining a united front in accusing the prime minister and his government of making self-serving decisions without consultation, which they say will be to the detriment of the nation's future.

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