Analysis

SODELPA MPs Toe Party Line in Bulitavu Motion

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka told Parliament yesterday that it was with a heavy heart that they condemned Mr Bulitavu’s remarks on women and the racist reference to the Indo-Fijian community, but they opposed the motion.
09 Aug 2019 13:43
SODELPA MPs Toe Party  Line in Bulitavu Motion
SODELPA MP and lawyer Mosese Bulitavu.

Analysis:

Some SODELPA MPs were toeing the party line to oppose a Government motion against Mosese Bulitavu.

If they were allowed a conscience vote, they would have supported the motion.

They could face disciplinary action by the party and lose their seats in Parliament, if they voted for the motion.

It also explains why no SODELPA MP had spoken out against Mr Bulitavu.

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka told Parliament yesterday that it was with a heavy heart that they condemned Mr Bulitavu’s remarks on women and the racist reference to the Indo-Fijian community, but they opposed the motion.

The attacks against Mr Bulitavu came mostly from the Government side. The only Opposition member that supported the motion was Biman Prasad, the National Federation Party leader.

Mr Rabuka justified their position by telling Parliament that Mr Bulitavu was under Police investigation for alleged breaches of the Public Order Act and they did not want to prejudice the process.

He said the Police would send their investigation results to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution to decide whether charges should be laid.

If Mr Bulitavu was charged, he would have to appear in court, Mr Rabuka said.

He said it was their collective position to vote against the motion.

Mr Rabuka’s opening statement that they condemned Mr Bulitavu’s remarks was the core message of the motion. So it was a contradiction when he said they opposed the motion.

Clearly, it was a political ploy to save face.

If they supported the motion, then they would face pressure to discipline Mr Bulitavu.

This would have been an ideal opportunity to put into practice their call for a bipartisan approach to national issues.

Domestic violence against women and racism are two of those important issues.

The SODELPA position shows that Mr Bulitavu is a “special and protected” MP.

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