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SODELPA ROW: Rabuka Calls For Truce

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka has called for a truce and an urgent meeting to resolve a new SODELPA row. Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya and MP Mosese Bulitavu are embroiled in
08 Jan 2019 11:46
SODELPA ROW: Rabuka Calls For Truce
Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka has called for a meeting between SODELPA MP's Mosese Bulitavu and Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya.

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka has called for a truce and an urgent meeting to resolve a new SODELPA row.

Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya and MP Mosese Bulitavu are embroiled in a bust-up that could develop and threaten party solidarity if not resolved quickly.

The row is over the ireguregu for the late Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni.

It broke out in a series of email exchanges.

A meeting which was planned for yesterday in the Opposition Office between the two did not happen. Mr Bulitavu turned up, but there was no sign of Ms Tabuya.

Mr Rabuka said he had given instructions that “a meeting between Ms Tabuya, Mr Bulitavu and I is held where we will resolve the issue”.

“I have asked SODELPA’s general secretary to get them both and conduct a meeting,” he said.

“I am saddened by the situation because they resorted to emails when they could have just gone into each other’s office and resolved the matter.

“The email exchange was not just between Ms Tabuya and Mr Bulitavu, but others were also copied in that email. They should not be surprised that it was a so-called leak. I don’t think it was leaked because so many people had the email sent to them,” Mr Rabuka said.

Mr Bulitavu was offended when Ms Tabuya questioned his authority after he sent an email to the 21 party MPs about the ireguregu.
In his email response, he also criticised her for allegedly breaching party rules by making her own media releases without getting the approval of caucus.

Mr Bulitavu told her that her dress standard at the ceremonial opening of Parliament had sent shock waves to the party stalwarts who guarded our “itovo and vakarau” or culture and traditions. He also criticised her maiden speech.

“Some of us understood the age you represent, but the threat we face was your revolutionary ideas that aim
to neutralise the core principles on which SODELPA was created for protecting and advancing the interest and aspirations of the iTaukei people,” he wrote.

“You became an immediate enemy given your daring methods (dressed to kill technique), but the way to advance your issue with the right methods is available with the party manifesto standpoint to shoot from a database system will further enhance.”

Mr Rabuka said he was aware of the email exchanges between Mr Bulitavu and Ms Tabuya.

Mr Bulitavu said yesterday: “I do not have any comments because I cannot make any comments on something that I do not know of. It will be unethical for me to comment on something that I have been dragged into that I do not know about.”

Ms Tabuya could not be reached to comment yesterday, but earlier she said: “Any Member of Parliament that makes any allegations against another MP should follow the proper grievance procedures and that is to address the grievance directly with the MP concerned or write directly to the Leader of Opposition without involving all other members of caucus and party officials.

“It is the proper thing to do to adhere to the principles of natural justice by affording a person the right to be heard and to respond to the allegations.

“I am deeply concerned with the manner in which Hon Bulitavu raised them with me. As the whip, if someone did the same thing to Hon Bulitavu, I would give the same direction to follow proper grievance procedures because it is fair and just that a person be given the opportunity to be heard,” Ms Tabuya said.

In regards with the dress standard of Ms Tabuya, Mr Rabuka said: “Dressing how she wants is her business, not ours or mine. She is free to wear anything that she is comfortable with.

“If the Speaker of the Parliament did not have any objections and allowed her to come into Parliament then it is none of my business.”

In regards with Ms Tabuya’s dress standard, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said people had the right to dress as they pleased.

“What we should be concentrating on is their performance, what they say and their integrity, not at how they dress.

“People have better sense in Parliament not to talk about such things, but to concentrate on developing the country rather than on women’s dress,” Ms Ali said.

Edited by Epineri Vula
Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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