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Analysis: Why Lynda Tabuya Backs Sitiveni Rabuka To The Hilt

Analysis: Why Lynda Tabuya Backs Sitiveni Rabuka To The Hilt
SODELPA Leader Sitveni Rabuka
June 06
11:01 2018

Her former party, the People’s Democratic Party, was heading into troubled waters.

Lynda Tabuya may be the envy of some SODELPA members.

But she has emerged as one of SO­DELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s most trust­ed allies.

The reason is that Mr Rabuka has given her a political lifeline. She owes it to him for keeping her political career alive.

Her former party, the People’s Democratic Party, was heading into troubled waters.

She managed to convince Mr Rabuka to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PDP and SODELPA. Under the MOU, PDP would not field any candi­dates but would support SODELPA candi­dates in the 2018 general election.

It also allowed her to transition from PDP to SODELPA in a bizarre move which still baffles some party members. She became endorsed in the SODELPA special general meeting (SGM) last December as a national SODELPA candidate, a privilege accorded to a select few including Mr Rabuka.

In the same meeting, PDP president Vijay Singh was elected SODELPA vice-president. It was later discovered that Mr Singh had not resigned from PDP.

After the intervention of the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, he was told to resign by SODELPA which he did because he had breached the Political Parties Act.

The strange aspect of the December SGM was that the MOU was signed after it. The other question it raised was that as a SO­DELPA member, she can’t have any say in the affairs of PDP because she had resigned. Because she was a signatory to the MOU, did that render the MOU invalid?

These were issues raised by a group of five senior members with SODELPA earlier this year.

They were so concerned about the implica­tions of these events on the party’s future that they called for a meeting with president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, general secre­tary Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Mr Rabuka and other senior officials. There was no meeting and the standoff escalated.

Mr Saneem had also referred the matter to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) to investigate. FICAC has not made any decision yet. In the mean­time, both sides met and said they had re­solved their differences.

But Mr Rabuka’s court case has reignited the discussion on these issues including his leadership.

One person that Mr Rabuka will see stand beside him during these internal differenc­es is Ms Tabuya.

She was one of the prominent coalition ad­vocates in the hope that it would give PDP a new lease of life in the same way as the Fiji Labour Party had tried to do.

But major differences between the parties put paid to that. PDP and FLP had tried to bury their differences and seriously dis­cussed merging into one party. But differ­ences over leadership ended the peace talks.

PDP was formed as a breakway party from FLP after founder trade unionist Felix An­thony did not like the leadership style of party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

Both the FLP and PDP failed to win a seat in the 2014 General Election. Mr Anthony re­signed as PDP leader.

Adi Sivia Qoro, now with Unity Fiji, one of PDP’s founders, also quit the party. The party gradually went on a decline.

For Ms Tabuya, PDP is behind her now. She is now a staunch SODELPA member, seen by some as a possible candidate for future party leader.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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