Politics

Banned- Three Members Told Not To Attend SODELPA Management Board Meeting Today

SODELPA general secretary Emele Duituturaga said the party was a political organisation governed with a party constitution and procedures to deal with internal party matters.
26 Feb 2021 10:26
Banned- Three Members Told Not To Attend SODELPA Management Board Meeting Today
From left: Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Ratu Tevita Komaisavai and Gilbert Vakalalabure.

Three members of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) management board have been banned from attending today’s meeting.

The ban came to light when one of them, SODELPA Lautoka Constituency president Ratu Tevita Komaisavai, revealed that he had received a letter from SODEPLA president Ratu Epenisa Cakobau informing him not to attend.

It is understood that the other members banned from the meeting are Adi Litia Qionibaravi and Gilbert Vakalalabure.

The ban is linked to a list of people, including the three, who are alleged to be supporting Sitiveni Rabuka to set up his proposed new party. The list was disclosed in an email obtained and published on Thursday, February 25.

Ratu Tevita yesterday confirmed that he had received a letter instructing him not to attend the meeting.

SODELPA general secretary Emele Duituturaga said the party was a political organisation governed with a party constitution and procedures to deal with internal party matters.

She said as a registered party under the Political Parties Act 2013, the party and its members had to be protected from breaches of the Act.

“The Act Specifically says that a person shall not be a member or an office holder of more than one proposed political party or political party registered under the Act at the same time,” she said.

“To protect the party, we are investigating possible breaches by its members and office holders.

“Once the investigation is completed and no breaches have been committed, members continue with Party responsibilities,”

Ratu Tevita said the controversial email from Mr Rabuka’s chief campaigner Mataiasi Lomaloma, came as a surprise to him and he could not understand why he had been copied in the email in the first place.

“It came as a shock to me when I received the email and found out that I was copied in it,” he said.

“We have always stayed in touch when he was Mr Rabuka’s campaign manager in 2018 and that was the only time we had exchanged emails.

“The board has to sit and resolve this issue, I don’t understand why the party president had to ban me from the meeting, I don’t think it’s his job to do that, the board should make a decision if we have to be banned from meeting.

“One thing they also need to do is to hear my story too and that’s why I need to be present to meet with party executives.

“I have been asked to not attend the meeting but I will try my best to meet with the general secretary and the party president to talk about this issue.”

He said his loyalty remained with SODELPA and he would ensure that he verified the issue with party executives.

Banned

“I am a party person and I am loyal to the people that brought me here within my constituency,” he said

“We have to verify, I had asked them to even access my email to confirm this.

“The general secretary has told me that the Registrar of Political Parties has advised them to disallow us from attending the meeting.”

Attempts to get comments from Adi Litia and Mr Vakalalabure proved unsuccessful before this edition went to press.

Former SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said he was unaware of who the emails were sent to and contents of the email sent by Mr Lomaloma.

Mr Rabuka said the last thing he would want in his proposed political party was to have disloyal people.

“My advice for management board members from SODELPA who intend to join my (proposed) party is to make their positions clear.

“If you want to help our proposed political party then it’s better you resign from SODELPA and the Management Board. That is the clean way of doing it.

“It’s a personal thing for them, I do not like disloyalty and I will not promote this.

“This was done by some members of SODELPA who went around our back and formed new constituency councils to make their own reps into the management board.

“I do not want to do that against them now.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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