Analysis

Conspicuous Absence Of Indo-Fijians From New Party Launch A Telling Sign Of Its Challenge  

The scars from the atrocities committed against them in those coups and the 2000 coup led by George Speight have not completely healed. Some may have forgiven him. But the majority are still unsure whether they can trust him.
13 Oct 2021 15:15
Conspicuous Absence Of Indo-Fijians From New Party Launch A Telling Sign Of Its Challenge  
Former SODELPA supporters elected to lead the Nadi People’s Alliance Party during the party’s national launch at Nawaka Village in Nadi on October 11, 2021.

Indo-Fijians were conspicuous by their absence at the launch of Sitiveni Rabuka’s The People’s Alliance party in Nadi on Monday.

It is a telling sign that one of the party’s big challenges of its preparation for next year’s General Election is to win the confidence and support of non-iTaukei.

Because of its battle with SODELPA over iTaukei votes it needs votes from other races if it is to have any hope of creating a significant impact on the election outcome.

While Mr Rabuka tried to appease Indo-Fijians in his speech at the launch by assuring them that they belonged to Fiji and their rights would be protected, these were mere words and promises.

He said he had also apologised for his 1987 military coups and the anti-Indo Fijian sentiments it generated.

The scars from the atrocities committed against them in those coups and the 2000 coup led by George Speight have not completely healed. Some may have forgiven him. But the majority are still unsure whether they can trust him.

Although he was acquitted by the court for his alleged involvement the military mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua there are people who cannot understand why he turned up with his military uniform at the height of the conflict saying he wanted to help end it.

 

Split from SODELPA

Perhaps, the biggest question he will face now is, why did he split from SODELPA when they almost defeated FijiFirst in the 2018 election?

It defies logic and common sense that in their obsession to topple FijiFirst, Mr Rabuka decides to break away because he could not retain his party leader role, which he lost to Viliame Gavoka, in a fair, transparent, and credible contest. All he has done is split the SODELPA votes and make it increasingly difficult for his party or SODELPA to improve on their 2018 results.

They were at their strongest when they fought that election from a united front even though there were internal differences, which resurfaced after the election.

So, what is his motive in leading a breakaway party? That’s the question that the non-iTaukei would be asking?

 

Indo-Fijian inclusion

All the issues that he claimed were wrong with the FijiFirst Government and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama could have been raised from SODELPA. In fact, SODELPA has been raising them also.

While the number of people who attended the launch might have been limited by the COVID-19 restrictions, were invitations extended to Indo-Fijians and other races to attend? SODELPA is known to have a sprinkling of Indo-Fijians with Rakiraki businessman George Shiu Raj as one of the three vice-presidents.

The People’s Alliance has an exclusive all iTaukei line-up of office bearers.

To show Indo-Fijians that he means business Mr Rabuka at least must show tangible evidence.

Before the election at least, one or two positions could be freed up for Indo-Fijians genuinely interested in joining and participating in the decision-making process.

If there is no expression of interest from credible Indo-Fijians, then it tells the party that it needs to work a lot harder to gain their trust.

Now, the talk about The People’s Alliance as a multiracial party is exactly that – all talk!

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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