By Alfred Sasako
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the nation’s only politician who has held the post three times, could face the inevitable when Parliament resumes this morning.
Reports suggest the DCC government has lost up to 21 MPs including senior government ministers through resignations over the last two days.
The defectors have teamed up with the Opposition, putting the head count in the Opposition camp at 32 MPs, leaving the government’s dwindling number at 18. Last night, they were finalising their plans for this week’s sitting of Parliament, which resumes this morning after a week’s adjournment.
Mr Sogavare’s deputy, Manasseh Maelanga, could take over the leadership in a vote of no confidence, some reports suggest. Insiders say a notice of the no confidence vote was submitted to Parliament on the weekend.
The DCC Government was also meeting in Caucus all day yesterday but no details were immediately available.
It was confirmed as of last night that some 12 Ministers and nine (9) backbench had resigned. The figure included seven Ministers whose resignations were tendered and accepted by Government House on Saturday. More resignations were on the way, according to some reports.
If these figures were correct, it would mean the Opposition now boasts of 32 while the DCC government has 18, largely made up of Kadere Party members.
The 32 MPs on the Opposition side are from the United Democratic Party (UDP), the People’s Alliance Party (PAP) and the Democratic Alliance Party (DAP) which has joined the new Opposition grouping.
Punters say only last minute inducements could save Mr Sogavare as he struggles to keep members of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government intact.
Social media reports say two men on the government side were offered $1 million each in cheques, but they refused.
Island Sun can confirm that the two men were former Finance and Treasury Minister, Snyder Rini and former Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Danny Philip.
Both men told members of the new grouping that Chief of Staff Djokovic gave them $1million in cheques but they refused as they had made up their mind to walk out from the government. According to the two former Ministers, the offer of payment was intended to stop them from deserting government.
Mr Djokovic could not be contacted for comments last night.
Many blame the mass resignations on a number of factors, including the way Chief of Staff, Robson Djokovic, runs the Office of the Prime Minister. They say Mr Djokovic simply wields far too much power.
It is public knowledge that his style of leadership was blamed for driving MPs away from the Sogavare-led administration in 2008.
“It looks like the 2008 syndrome is going to repeat itself. If it has, then it is clear Mr Djokovic has never learned from his mistakes,” insiders said last night.
Meanwhile the new grouping has scoffed at suggestions by Prime Minister Sogavare that Coalition MPs deserted him because they fear he would table the Anti-Corruption Bill.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason we have moved away from the government is because of Mr Sogavare’s indecisiveness on the Anti-Corruption Bill. We want to be free so we can bring the Bill to Parliament,” a spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office last night said the numerical strength of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) remains intact despite the recent resignations of nine (9) government ministers. SEE RESPONSE FROM THE PMO ON PAGE 3