Analysis | Opinion

Inconsistencies, Contradictions Dot Trail of Opposition Parliamentarians in Bainimarama-Tikoduadua Incident

If you are confused and can’t un­derstand the kind of politics the Opposition MPs are playing in the current session of Parliament we don’t blame you. We all know that
06 Sep 2019 10:17
Inconsistencies, Contradictions Dot Trail of Opposition Parliamentarians in Bainimarama-Tikoduadua Incident
NFP president Pio Tikoduadua.(closest to the camera)

If you are confused and can’t un­derstand the kind of politics the Opposition MPs are playing in the current session of Parliament we don’t blame you.

We all know that National Federation Party MPs, leader Biman Prasad, Pio Tikoduadua and Lenora Qereqeretabua, are boycotting Parliament over the Bainimarama-Tikoduadua case. But on Tuesday, they attended the Privileges Committee meeting to give evidence against Mr Bainimarama.

They wrote to the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and lodged a complaint against the PM. They also wanted Ratu Epeli to investigate the alleged incident and asked for a CCTV footage because they intended to bring this matter to the Privileges Committee.

When Ratu Epeli reported to Parlia­ment on Monday his ruling that he was referring the case to the Privileges Committee, the MPs were absent. It was a show of disrespect to Ratu Epeli, espe­cially when the report was in response to their request.

Their response to Ratu Epeli’s state­ment was negative. Then they had the audacity to attend the Privileges Com­mittee meeting which the Speaker had ordered.

They should have boycotted it as well to make their position on this issue con­sistent.

But they didn’t because it suited their narrow political agenda and that is to build their case against the PM. Because of this case other important matters of national interest were relegated by the Speaker to expedite its resolution.

Mr Tikoduadua was called in yester­day after another session with the com­mittee.

Today the committee will table its re­port to Parliament. The question is: Will the NFP MPs accept the findings and recommendations of the committee?

Now that that they have told the com­mittee what they had, will they attend Parliament today. They in effect ended the boycott when they attended the com­mittee.

Was the Speaker informed of the boy­cott and the reasons by writing before it happened like the Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka did before boycotting the Privileges Committee meeting with Adi Litia Qionibaravi.

According to parliamentary protocol and convention, MPs need to seek the Speaker’s permission by letter that they would be absent and state the reasons involved.

If they fail to comply with the require­ments should their salaries be docked? What about their responsibility to those who elected them?

Tikoduadua’s car

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro has confirmed that no official report was lodged by Mr Tikoduadua at any Police station regarding the alleged tampering incident.

He had claimed in a media report that his car was tampered with and he feared for the safety of his family after an ac­cident.

This is a serious claim and should have been reported to the Police to investi­gate. Why wasn’t it reported then (last month) and what is his motive in bring­ing it out now?

The implications are serious and could lead to all kinds of speculations that are unfounded.

Rabuka’s changing stance

Senior Opposition partner SODELPA also showed questionable conduct.

Originally Mr Rabuka had written to the Speaker saying the party’s par­liamentary caucus had unanimously agreed to not participate in the Privileg­es Committee, saying the Speaker had erred in his ruling.

He said they were of the “strong view” that Parliament should not interfere with the work and constitutional role of the Police.

He then tried to join the committee af­ter the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had recused himself after Mr Rabuka complained against him. He failed. Mosese Bulitavu replaced him. Adi Litia Qionibaravi is the second SO­DELPA member.

That is a complete about turn from their original position.

Last but not least is Mr Rabuka’s at­tempt to claim the credit of initiating reconciliation between Mr Bainimara­ma and Mr Tikoduadua.

Mr Bainimarama had sought to apolo­gise to Mr Tikoduadua in the presence of the Speaker on the day of the alleged incident.

The ball is now in Mr Tikoduadua’s court to decide on whether he is pre­pared to to accept Mr Bainimarama’s apology.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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