Analysis

Attack On Journalist Highlights Ugly Side Of SODELPA Politics

Extremist elements will stop at nothing and stoop to gutter level to get what they want
11 Jul 2020 12:05
Attack On Journalist Highlights Ugly Side Of SODELPA Politics
(From Left-Right): SODELPA party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Gone Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa.

The dark and ugly side of SODELPA politics has reared its head again.

This time it’s about an unprovoked, inappropriate, unacceptable and shocking attack on one of the country’s leading and senior journalists, Rosi Doviverata. She is the Managing Editor News of the Fiji Sun.

It highlights that some extremist elements in the party’s conservative right wing will stop at nothing to advance their cause. They have descended to gutter level politics, dragging in family and traditional issues, to defend their position.

Threats

A fake person or group, operating as Ai Tukutuku, on Facebook which has since been taken down after being challenged by her husband, Ro Alivereti Doviverata, put out a vitriolic post and a direct threat.

Like a good journalist would do, Mrs Doviverata found a copy of a letter that Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem wrote to a party member. It was in relation to the acting positions lapsing including caretaker party leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

She developed it and wrote a straightforward news story.The perpetrator/perpetrators of the threat against Mrs Doviverata accused her of being a party to a purported plot to write off the Vu-nivalu (warlord of the Roko Tui Dreketi, paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga Confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa).

She was also accused of trying to gain favour with Ro Teimumu on behalf of her husband, who is member of the chiefly clan.

The message said: “Stop sucking up to the black cobra because you think your husband will be made the next Roko Tui Dreketi after the black cobra goes.”

Black cobra refers to Ro Teimumu.  Now that’s a low blow.

Her report had nothing do with the chiefly house and seat of power in Rewa. Yet her innocent family and husband were dragged in and vilified.

This action should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

The attack on her seem to have been copied from threats against the Fiji Sun by some senior party members including some MPs that if SODELPA became Government they would drag the newspaper to court or close it down. It contradicts their call for media freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Politics of losers

This is the politics of losers, desperate to survive and stay relevant in the topsy turvy world of politics.

The rift between Ro Teimumu and the Vunivalu is well known so is the frosty relationship between her and her nephew Ro Filipe Tuisawau.

There is no suggestion here that the attack against Mrs Doviverata is linked to Ro Filipe and the Vunivalu. Absolutely not.

What it does raise is the callous way some extremist elements in the conservative right wing of the party are quick to drag in cultural and traditional issues to suit their selfish political agenda.

There is an appropriate forum to discuss vanua matters like the chiefly system and cultural issues – certainly not in the political space.

However, the political radicals use it to appeal to the base instincts of the iTaukei even if it causes divisions among them.

The whole iTaukei structure from top to bottom is currently under the microscope and revisited by these extremist elements. It has led to the resurrection of the infamous Wakaya Letter.

It was the subject of a recent meeting of some of these extremists in Suva. Dated January 17, 1963, the letter basically talked about iTaukei political supremacy, protection of indigenous rights, a Christian state and the Great Council of Chiefs and the links between Fiji and the British monarchy.

Among those who signed it included the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara who became the first Prime Minister of independent Fiji.

The letter was written in the buildup to the Constitutional talks in London in 1970 which excluded the political supremacy bit.

The extremists are campaigning for the “restoration” of these provisions.

Most of them were in the 1970 Constitution which was abrogated by the two military coups of 1987 led by Sitiveni Rabuka.

If these extremists have their way we would have a new Constitution that reflects their ideologies

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Tomorrow:

  • Red flags as we move forward
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