Rabuka: I Wish Tikoduadua Had Not Condemned Prime Minister
Sitiveni Rabuka says while he respects Pio Tikoduadua’s views, he wishes Mr Tikoduadua had not condemned his former leader.
The SODELPA Party leader made this remark upon his arrival at the Nadi International Airport from the United States. It was in response to Mr Tikoduadua’s defection to the National Federation Party (NFP) from FijiFirst.
Mr Tikoduadua had also criticised Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for not accepting his views on former Member of Parliament Dr Neil Sharma, who voted with the Opposition on a health issue in Parliament in 2015.
Dr Sharma resigned from Parliament and FijiFirst after that. Mr Tikoduadua later resigned and stated health issues as the reason. However, last Saturday he revealed the second reason was about the PM when he announced he was joining NFP.
Mr Rabuka said he would not want to force any former colleague of the Prime Minister “to come to our party.”
“For me I value loyalty very highly and it would be painful for me to have a former colleague go to another party,” he said.
“I respect Pio Tikoduadua’s views, but I wish he had not been too condemning of his former leader.”
On reports that his email was hacked via a spy who gave the party applicant a wishlist to the Fiji Sun, he said: “No I did not say that. I just said that it was unofficially released. The information was available to us.
“Most of it was accurate and that was the list of applicants, not the candidates; those who have applied for the tickets with SODELPA are included in that list.
“It was not exclusive; there were some that were left out. It was somebody that found some documents, but not the complete documents.”
Fiji Sun: When the Fiji Sun approached some of those on the list, they were unaware that their names were on the list
Mr Rabuka: “Oh well I hope we can get those names so that we can exclude them, because those were the names that applied. If they applied then their names would be on it. If their names were on it and they did not apply then we will just remove them, because we don’t want to do anything that’s against the personal wish of the people.”
Fiji Sun: Back home you talked about unity and transparency, but when you went to the US and talked about bringing the GCC and other fundamental indigenous issues. Where does the party stand on these issues?
Mr Rabuka: “The party has really stood for the establishment of the Great Council of Chiefs. When I joined, it was already something they wanted to do as a party.
“As a new leader for the party, that has been running for four years. I am duty bound to go along with what the party stands for.”
Fiji Sun: How did the meeting with supporters in the US go?
Mr Rabuka: “Very good, I did more than what I went for, but I enjoyed it. We had a convention with the SODELPA USA.
“It was their first major meeting and they had to elect their own officers. They asked me to be there and to brief them on what’s happening here in Fiji.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, organisational restructuring, the founding office barriers stood aside for the new office barriers to be elected.”
Fiji Sun: Fiji One Party has been de-registered by the Fijian Elections Office. What are your views?
Mr Rabuka: “We have to abide by the rules. If they have contravened the rules, they stand to be deregistered and I urge all parties to make sure they comply with rules and regulations that govern us.”
Fiji Sun: Now that you are back in the country what are your next moves for SODELPA?
Mr Rabuka: “Now I go back to talking to party workers making sure we have everything ready and lawful and continue along the line. We are expecting the Budget debate.
“In the Budget debate there will be hopefully an allocation for the election and if we get it then we can say that the election will happen before the next Budget debate.
“If it doesn’t include the election allocation, then we may not have the election until after the next Budget session in August next year.”
Fiji Sun: Are you still looking at coalition with other parties?
Mr Rabuka: “We are looking at coalition with the other parties. We know the National Federation Party would prefer not to coalesce. But we respect their views.”
Edited by Jonathan Bryce