Caretaker government accuses CARE coalition of being illegal ahead of elections


The office of the Prime Minister has accused the CARE coalition of being illegal, ahead of the national general elections.

The Coalition for Accountability Reform and Empowerment (CARE) has brushed aside this claim as a non-issue, “one driven by a political agenda”.

Concerned public are also questioning why the Prime Minister’s office is interfering in the country’s political processes, contradicting Public Service rules.

The Ministry of the Public Service, on February 26 this year had issued a memo to public servants reminding them to “remain apolitical” during the election process.

On Monday this week, the press secretariat to the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) issued an official statement titled ‘CARE Coalition Is Illegal’.

The statement alleged CARE was illegal because it had never registered under the Political Parties Integrity Act (PPIA).

Apparently, CARE had not lodged a notice with the Registrar of Political Parties when it was formed.

Commenting on the issue in the popular YTTF Facebook forum, local political commentator Andrew Muaki said there is nothing wrong with CARE, adding that the “PPIA did not take away the right of political parties to enter into agreement without registration prior to [National General Elections 2024] NGE24.

“It is utter misleading and a misrepresentation of the PPIA to claim that any coalition agreement between political parties must be registered with the [Political Party Integrity Commission] PPIC.

“[The] coalition agreement was formalised outside of the PPIA for the time being- nothing illegal about it.

“The parties preserved their rights to enter into another agreement after the NGE24. Perhaps that is when these two parties (maybe another one) may enter into a coalition agreement for the purposes of the PPIA in order to form a coalition government. Section 53 of the PPIA is quite clear on this point.”

Speaking to Island Sun last night, a CARE spokesperson said, “This issue that the OPMC is peddling is a non-issue.

“We understand that our political opponents are feeling the pressure of the election campaigns, and such things are bound to happen, which include a party trying to belittle and tarnish the name of a party whom they deem to be threatening their chances.”

The CARE spokesperson also questioned such political statements being made by a public office such as the OPMC, which is a breach of Public Service protocols in times of elections.

“It is surprising that this statement is coming from the OPMC, a public office, which has no mandate to interfere with the politics of an upcoming election.

“It would have made sense if the statement had come from another political party.

“Make it worse, the OPMC and all government ministries are in caretaker mode, making this political tampering by the OPMC more absurd.

“Public offices and officers should not abuse their official platforms to advance political agendas at this time.”

Mr Muaki touched on this in his YTTF commentary, “It is unfortunate that a government ministry (OPMC) has decided to venture into the political arena.

“This is a breach of Public Service rules and long standing protocols regarding the non-involvement of government ministries.”

The CARE coalition is between the Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP) headed by former Opposition Leader, Matthew Wale, and the Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), led by former opposition MP, Rick Hou.

The two registered political parties, SIDP and DAP, coalited on February 6 this year.

Unofficial reports say CARE has since been joined by the Umi For Change (U4C) party. This was after CARE launched in Auki on February 23.

Meanwhile, the majority of the current caretaker government ministers are members of the Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) Party, whose wing leader is caretaker prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Yesterday (March 6), nominations for candidacy for both national and provincial elections closed, while the campaigning period which began when the nomination period opened on Wednesday, February 21, continues.

Solomon Islands goes to the polls on April 17 – the country’s first synchronised elections.

Discover more from Theislandsun

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading