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Rabuka Focuses On National Issues, Not On Party Politics

Rabuka Focuses  On National Issues,  Not On Party Politics
SODELPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka.
September 28
10:55 2016

ANALYSIS:  Sitiveni Rabuka is a frustrated man. His years in politics have taught him that party politics no longer works.

From day one since his appointment as Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader, Mr Rabuka has emphasised that it would take more than just the SODELPA party to win the 2018 general elections.

So far, public forums with other opposition party leaders have somewhat been a challenge.

At the first public forum attended by both the Fiji Labour Party and National Federation Party leaders, Mr Rabuka claims they were antagonistic towards him. This was expected. Mr Rabuka was Fiji’s first coup leader – a legacy many Fijians have never forgotten.

Despite the confrontational stance taken by Mahendra Chaudhry (FLP) and Biman Prasad (NFP), Mr Rabuka is cautiously positive.

“It’s been good, but they are just party politicians. I don’t like factional, compartmentalised political issues. I’m more on national issues,” he said.

This is the strategy Mr Rabuka is taking. He knows that as politicians, they need to be engaging more and not confronting.

He admits that there is still a lot of work to be done because they “don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things”.

Mr Rabuka also emphasised that their attendance at the public forums has been on a personal basis.

None of the political parties have yet to issue policy statements on inter-party co-operation. A lot of time and compromises will be needed to see something eventuate well before 2018.

Already the NFP president, Tupou Draunidalo, has maintained her stance that she would not and could not work with Mr Rabuka.

Could this be a battle lost already?

In 1999 Mr Chaudhry pulled it off when his coalition of parties defeated Mr Rabuka’s SVT/NFP coalition.

“What if we can’t work together, then our victory is hollow like Chaudhry,” Mr Rabuka said.

“They ganged up against SVT, they won, and then they saw who the winner was. They did not like it.”

Moving forward, Mr Rabuka again questions: “If we combine to defeat someone, then what?”

Edited by Naisa Koroi



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