How and why the Opposition came apart at the seams

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BY ALFRED SASAKO

 

THE meeting of political parties which ousted the DCC-led government a day earlier was set for 10am on Tuesday. It was intended to flesh out any outstanding issues as part of the preparations to take office.

No dramas at all.

As it turned out, there were surprises awaiting the unsuspecting. The euphoria in winning the no confidence motion in Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare a day earlier had dazzled the wisdom to move cautiously and collectively.

As a result, consultation which is the cornerstone of any negotiations was totally forgotten or ignored, knowingly or unknowingly. The repercussions would send shock waves through the entire political system, still bleeding from the wounds of defeat in the no confidence motion.

The Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), which has now firmly established itself as a formidable force in a rather fluid situation, was forgotten. Its politicians were fuming.

One of its senior executives told me yesterday: “We were quite shocked to learn that we were never consulted at all in terms of the proposed Cabinet line-up. Luckily, we had strategized options to take before arriving for the meeting at the Honiara Hotel, which was the camp of the dissenting MPs.

As more information came out to the DAP camp, it was nothing but bad news. The main group, which comprises the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Independents, have already decided amongst themselves the Cabinet line-up.

It has decided for example that:

Hon Dr Derek Sikua would be candidate for PM

Hon Manasseh Maelanga to be DPM

Hon Matthew Wale to be Finance and Treasury

Hon Danny Philip to be Development Planning and Aid Coordination

DAP which helped shore up the no confidence motion was never consulted except that its parliamentary wing leader and Opposition Leader, Hon Jeremiah Manele MP had been allocated Foreign Affairs. Prior to the approach, he was not even consulted.

The timing of the call from the remnants of the DCC government camp could not be better. It offered DAP the post of Prime Minister if it was willing to break-away from the HH camp. No sooner than the call being switched off that two DAP heavies were on their way to the Heritage Park hotel.

A deal was stitched and a new marriage was announced to the shock of the HH camp on Tuesday night.

“The DCC government agreed to every demand we put to them as condition for joining them,” a senior DAP official said yesterday.

“We moved away almost immediately to the Heritage Park.”

The proposed Cabinet line-up for a Ricky Hou administration looks something like this.

Hon R Hou MP                      –          Prime Minister

Hon M Maelanga MP         –           Deputy Prime Minister

Hon J Maneniaru MP          –           Finance & Treasury

Yesterday, the HH camp apologised and was yesterday trying to woo the DAP members back with the offer of Prime Minister to Hon Ricky Hou. That offer may just be too late.

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