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Lynda remains positive

USP Political participation policy disallows staff from holding positions Former University of the South Pacific law lecturer, Lynda Tabuya claims her employment was terminated by USP last week because of
11 Mar 2014 10:27

USP Political participation policy disallows staff from holding positions

Lynda Tabuya. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Former University of the South Pacific law lecturer, Lynda Tabuya claims her employment was terminated by USP last week because of her participation in the People’s Democratic Party’s political activities.
Ms Tabuya is PDP’s Suva branch secretary. She was elected in August last year.
“I did inform USP about my election last year and they were fine with it,” she said.
Last month USP staff members were notified about its political participation policy. The policy clarified that staff were not allowed to hold official positions in any political party whether it be local or national.
Those who continued in their political pursuits would be terminated from USP. Ms Tabuya chose not to give up her position with PDP.
“I take full responsibility for my choice to remain politically active within PDP. The fact is – I was given that ultimatum, resign as secretary or your employment will be terminated.”
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, said no one was forced to resign.
“That’s the choice they made,” she said.
When asked about Ms Tabuya she said: “For Lynda it was her choice.”
Despite this, Ms Tabuya is determined to make a difference. She said her termination from USP pales in comparison to what she views is the mammoth task of contesting the elections.
“I’m passionate about bringing real change to the poor and disadvantaged, especially those who have no security of tenure when it comes to land. Many people live on native land and pay lease moneys but they can be evicted anytime at the will of the landowners. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the current land laws that gives back the determination of land use to landowners who work mutually with tenants to ensure efficient use of native land and security of tenure to occupants.”
She said too often settlers who had occupied land for generations were removed at will without proper compensation or resettlement plans.
“With security of tenure comes a sense of identity, a belonging, a home. Many displaced communities exist in our squatter settlements and native land settlements that have no security whatsoever. This needs to change.”
Ms Tabuya said this could only come with proper land innovation systems that a responsible government would implement to see the efficient use of native land and security for occupants in a mutually beneficial environment.
“There is not one non iTaukei person I know that wants to remove the rights of iTaukei to own the land. They just want security of tenure – to be able to use the land with fair compensation and build a home that is secure for generations.”
For Ms Tabuya the security of tenure issue was something she held close to her heart. She grew up in the Wakanisila settlement, Kalabu.
“I am grateful for the goodwill and kindness of the chiefs of Kalabu who continue to honour agreements made by our forefathers to give settlers a home. Many other settlers are not so fortunate. I believe there can be a way to provide land security to those in such predicaments to ensure a sense of belonging and identity. This is important to ensure equality before the law and equal access to opportunity and human dignity.”

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