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Analysis: Why Two Sitting MPs Not On List Of 42 Provisional Candidates

Analysis: Why Two Sitting MPs Not On List Of 42 Provisional Candidates
September 03
10:22 2018

SODELPA sitting MPs Semesa Karava­ki and Mikaele Leawere were not on the party’s provisional candidates list announced on Saturday.

Mr Leawere, like many party members, bought the $150 a ticket to listen to the an­nouncement of names at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay.

Mr Karavaki did not go because Saturday was his Sabbath.

There was an air of excitement as the spot­light was turned on the stage when party leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, began reading the list.

Mr Leawere listened and listened but did not hear their names called out after Mr Rabuka blared out Ratu Jone Rabici Seniloli (Tailevu South Rural) listed as the 42nd provisional candidate.

He was not only shocked like others but also disappointed.

Out of the nine places left to be filled, two are earmarked for Mr Leawere and Mr Kar­avaki.

It was later discovered that their names were omitted because they have not paid their $6000 levy in full. A cardinal rule for selection is that all provisional candidates must pay the amount in full before their names can be confirmed and made public.

There is no question about the MPs’ abil­ity to pay. They are going to pay the out­standing amount.

It is understood they did not expect their names to be dropped from the Saturday list.

Mr Rabuka said later that the remaining nine names would be confirmed and an­nounced once clearance was obtained from their employers.

But Mr Karavaki and Mr Leawere were fulltime MPs and do not fit into that cat­egory.

They could not be reached to comment yesterday but it is understood Mr Leawere was not happy to be treated like other pro­visional candidates because they are sitting members of Parliament.

It is understood that if he knew before­hand that their names were not on the list he would not have attended the dinner.

This was the night that everyone was looking forward to. It was like the glitz and glamour of the Oscars.

The best jaba, long mumus and bula shirts came out in their full glory. The 42 named celebrated with a group photo.

Conspicuously missing from the photo were Mr Karavaki and Mr Leawere. Many came to Mr Leawere and gave him their sympathy, probably unaware of the back­ground. Some vented their frustration against Mr Rabuka. It wasn’t Mr Rabuka’s doing. He just read the list which was pre­pared by head office which obviously was following the rule that one law fits all.

Another group blamed general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi. Questions were also asked about party finances. It was claimed that SODELPA USA had sent funds to cover for provisional candidates who could not afford the $6000. It is understood that all SODELPA MPs including Mr Karavaki and Mr Leawere contribute to the Opposi­tion Office operational costs through a $200 monthly deduction.

It’s apparent that SODELPA has raised the bar and expects everyone, Mr Karavaki and Mr Leawere included, to meet those stand­ards.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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