Analysis

Naitasiri Focus Of Intense Campaign In SODELPA Battleground Provinces

It’s one of the battleground provinces in the buildup to the Special General Meeting on July 25.
16 Jul 2020 12:27
Naitasiri Focus Of Intense Campaign In SODELPA Battleground Provinces
Bau chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The issue of vanua versus politics dominates the debate as SODELPA’s rival factions engage in an intense campaign in Naitasiri.

It’s one of the battleground provinces in the buildup to the Special General Meeting on July 25.

The moderates’ heavyweights led by Bau Chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, the heir to the Vunivalu title, paramount chief of Kubuna Confederacy, are in the province to repel the push by the conservative right wing to gain inroads.

According to the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, Ratu Epenisa’s acting vice president position lapsed on June 30. The right wingers are using it to undermine his attempts to hold meetings.

They are also questioning his use of his chiefly position to gain political favour. That’s hypocritical because it’s part and parcel of SODELPA politics.

One of the right wingers, former school teacher, Peceli Rinakama highlights their position in a Facebook post.

He says it is interesting to note that after Mr Saneem ‘s ruling only two office bearers have been left, the party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and general secretary Emele Duituturaga.

Rinakama

“The two different factions are trying their very best to entice the people that they are the legitimate group, people need to understand that in case of trouble, look for the solution and do the first thing first, rather than trying to outsmart the others.

“The position of the acting president Vijay Singh, acting vice president Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and Ratu Jone Lesuma are all lapsed, so as the AGM which should have been held on the 30th of June according to the party constitution.

“The architect of the SODELPA constitution are people with brilliant minds, not only with intelligence, but with wisdom and experience. The native heritage,the security of other races,the various economic development, prosperity and peace are well documented in the constitution. It is one of the best political party constitutions I’ve seen for a long time.

“Through observation and experience when hatred and jealousies encroach an organisation it will ruin its old structure. The AGM at Savusavu was well attended and the agenda was well covered, still about five to six people took the party to court. If SODELPA wants to win the 2022 election than I propose this word of God to you: Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive one another as quickly and throughly as God and Christ forgave you.

“The two different groups of entity in the party should reconcile.

1. The five or six people who took the party to court .

2. The 21 MPs in SODELPA.

“Please I earnestly appeal to the above groups to think about the party and future of Fiji rather than their own political agenda. Just recently a group led by Aseri Radrodro and others have been going around canveassing for vanua, chiefly support.

This Wednesday Ratu Epenisa Cakobau should be at Serea Village to talk to the vanua chiefs of Naitasiri.

“Please ❗Please❗Do not mix polictics with vanua. Leave the chiefs alone with their traditional roles which is a Godly calling.

“For Ratu Epenisa Cakobau to visit Naitasiri as the paramount chief of Kubuna, the chiefly village of Navuso should be informed before they liase with Turaga Roko TuiColo. Whoever is advising Hon A Radrodro on the Fijian protocol in the province of Naitasiri should get his facts correct and know his roots ( E tiko ga na gaunisala ni vanua, ka sega na gaunisala ni politiki). Me kua ni da bosoka vata.)

“Retrospectively this is a great insult to those of us who always treasure the vanua network. Politicians will come and go but the vanua will remain forever.”

Radrodro

Those close to Mr Radrodro say the MP would not comment because it would give importance to Mr Rinakama’s statement. He believes the people are the best judge.

Mr Radrodro has worked hard to help lift the profile of Naitasiri further. He has strengthened his connections with the vanua and would defend it against those who want to use it for their own political agenda.

It is understood he is backing Ratu Epenisa’s visit to the province because:

1) Ratu Epenisa is speaking against extremism. He is preaching tolerance, peace and inclusiveness

2) He is the paramount chief designate of Kubuna Confederacy which includes Naitasiri

3) Mr Radrodro is fulfilling his traditional obligation by accompanying the chief

4) Politics or no politics, the chiefly system and the vanua will always defend their roles and traditional ties.

To reject Ratu Epenisa from attending a vanua meeting in Naitasiri is unthinkable. It makes a mockery of the talks to defend and respect the chiefly system. No chief from anywhere in Fiji gets turned away from a vanua meeting because it’s an unwritten unalienable right that all iTaukei understand.

When the Tui Cakau, paramount chief of Cakaudrove and Tovata Confederacy, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, went to Serea in 2016, Mr Rinakama did not complain like he is doing now.

So it’s obvious his position at any given time depends on where his political allegiance lies.

It’s an insult to suggest that the heir of the Vunivalu of Kubuna seeks permission to enter into any Kubuna traditional land. In fact that should be an insult to any person of Kubuna lineage.

Ratu Epenisa’s message of peace is particularly relevant in Naitasiri.

It was the Naitasiri people who converged at Kalabu at the height of 2000 Coup by George Speight before the uprising was brutally put down by the military.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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