Biographical entry: Sipolo, Stephen


Stephen Sipolo, of Ngongosila Island in the Kwai area of east Malaita, was in the constabulary from the mid-1920s until 1939, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major. He refused to take part in the brutal 1927 punitive attack on Kwaio. He and Sergeant-Major Jacob Vuza were married to two sisters, 'Aeringi and Salome, from east Kwaio. When the war came, Sipolo rejoined the government. By then he had become one of the Protectorate's most trusted policemen, and during a period in early 1946 was effectively in charge of Makira's administration. He soon became commanding officer of the Auki police, but was dismissed in early 1947 and stripped of his pension, along with fellow officer Eban Funusau, for planning a police strike connected to the Maasina Rule (q.v.) movement. That August, Sipolo was appointed, reluctantly, as a Maasina Rule alaha'ou'ou chief for Kwara'ae. He was subsequently tried and jailed with the movement's Head Chiefs, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released with them in 1950. In 1960 he was elected Vice-President of the Malaita Council (q.v.), and was re-elected to that position in 1962, both times under President Mariano Kelesi (q.v.). (David Akin, personal communication, 29 Nov. 2009)

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