Analysis

Rewa Chiefs Put In Precarious Position Over Party Politics

Ro Teimumu got the nod on a popular slogan “A vote for Ro Teimumu is a vote for the Vanua of Burebasaga.” Those supporting Ro Filipe argued that the Vanua should not be mixed with politics.
06 Jul 2019 15:15
Rewa Chiefs Put In Precarious Position Over Party Politics
Roko Tui Dreketi (paramount chief of Rewa) and MP Ro Teimumu Kepa and SODELPA president and MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau.

Analysis:

The internal power politics in SODELPA has come the full circle for two chiefs.

Roko Tui Dreketi (paramount chief of Rewa) and MP Ro Teimumu Kepa and SODELPA president and MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau have been put in a precarious position because of party politics.

Ro Teimumu is in the moderates camp and Ro Filipe  is with the conservative right wing.

This is not the first time they are in this position. In 2006, they both contested the Rewa ticket under the SDL (Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua) in the primaries.
Popular Slogan

Ro Teimumu got the nod on a popular slogan “A vote for Ro Teimumu is a vote for the Vanua of Burebasaga.” Those supporting Ro Filipe argued that the Vanua should not be mixed with politics.

They claimed that the Vanua and the chiefly system had been used in the past for political gains.

They said people should be allowed to vote on their conscience, not on their basis of their allegiance to the Vanua and the chiefly system. There should be separation.

Therein lies the dilemma for the Rewa people. At what point do they separate politics and the Vanua with its chiefly system.

In 2006, it was evident that Ro Teimumu commanded the majority support in the primaries.

The SDL selection team accepted that result and Ro Teimumu went in to convincingly win her seat in the General Election.
Reflection

Ro Filipe stood as independent and lost. What could not be determined was whether it was a reflection of the people’s support for Teimumu as a chief or a politician or both.

In the current situation the gulf between the two chiefs appears to be based on their political beliefs.

For example, Ro Teimumu has embraced Fijian as a common name. Ro Filipe still needs to declare his position after becoming president.

Ro Filipe is backed by the Vanua Levu bloc. Some elements from there campaigned against Ro Teimumu in the last Parliament term.

Last, but not least, the differences could resurrect the old feud that was historically linked to the Roko Tui Dreketi title.

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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