A defiant Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has vowed tonight that he will not resign and will defend it with his life.
After two-days of looting and calls for him to resign, Sogavare came out tonight to declare he not resigning.
Sogvare said: “If I am removed as Prime Minister, it will be on the floor of Parliament. I have faith and respect in our democratic process, and I will defend it with my life. I say this with deepest conviction. Our people need to and must understand that our actions in defending democracy is not merely a lip service. It is conviction in the principles and values that underpins our democracy and all democracies around the world.
Sogavare said the past 36 hours have seen the country, especially, Honiara brought to its knees.
“I have been asked to step down and while I acknowledge that call I must also respect our democracy. I am elected as the Prime Minister of our beloved country by 35 Members of Parliament who represent their people.
“The call for me to step down is premised on the hunger for power by certain politicians who do not have any respect for the principles of democracy and due process,” he said.
Sogavare stated that in 2006 a precedent was set when the Prime Minister back then was asked to resign after a riot in Honiara.
“That event is the precedent for our current situation. If I am to step down, what message would that send to our people, children and generations to come? Some of us are of the opinion that if I step down the protests and riots will stop. This is the easiest decision to make. However, the effect of this decision is what weighs heavy in my heart. Are we saying to our young children and youths that whenever we are not happy with those in authourity we take the laws into our own hands? If we do this, it is a very dangerous message to our people and future generations.
We are effectively saying to our children, take the law into your hands if whenever you are not happy. This must never be the message we send nor the conviction we instill in our citizens if we are to progress as a peaceful democracy,” he said in his radio address.
Sogavare in his appeal said: “I call on all our people to please return to your homes. Our city has already been ransacked with properties burnt to the ground. It will take a lot of effort and money to rebuild it.
“I appeal to you all to respect our city, public and private properties and the safety of innocent civilians. Destruction, looting and violence is not how we address our grievances but instead through dialogue and consultation which the Government has been advancing despite misinformation being circulated by certain individuals and leaders who have no regard for the collateral and irreversible damage caused by such unwarranted actions,” he said.
He asked the the Churches to pray for our country and people.
Sogavare also urges all ministers and Members of Parliament to defend our democracy.
He said the Government has not been idle with its efforts to protect the country from COVID19, sustain the economy and progress crucial reforms in the best interests of the nation as a whole.
“I have been in contact with the government of Australia and Papua New Guinea seeking their assistance to assist our country which is forthcoming. We cannot allow our country, people and our future to be held at ransom by very few people representing their own narrow interests.
I am extremely saddened that people have been misled by politicians for their own agenda. Our unsuspecting people have continuously been misled and are victims in this sad and unfortunate situation. I do not blame the people who are protesting and rioting, they are citizens of our country, and unfortunately they have been used by certain politicians and individuals to further their own selfish and narrow agendas,” he said.