NEWS

Moves Afoot To Mend Opposition Wounds

Moves are underway to prevent a leadership crisis in the Opposition. Last Friday, a group from Rewa province, performed a traditional ceremony of ‘bulubulu’ or apology to the Tui Cakau,
21 Oct 2014 12:39
Moves Afoot To Mend  Opposition Wounds

Moves are underway to prevent a leadership crisis in the Opposition.

Last Friday, a group from Rewa province, performed a traditional ceremony of ‘bulubulu’ or apology to the Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, on behalf of Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Leader of the Opposition andtraditional head of the Burebasaga confederacy. The ceremony was conducted in the Opposition office.

This was a significant development because Ratu Naiqama had been quiet after the election. He won his own seat under his own steam without much input from the party. Before the party launched its election campaign, there were rumours that he would not stand because of his disappointment over the rejection of his close mate Sitiveni Rabuka as party leader and as an election candidate.

Ro Teimumu’s inner circle had reservations about Mr Rabuka’s involvement. It had an influence on Ro Teimumu who was not keen on having Mr Rabuka because of his history as the 1987 military coup leader and his leadership of the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) which Laisenia Qarase’s Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) replaced. Whether the wounds from that fallout have healed completely is not clear.

Ro Teimumu gave Ratu Naiqama the No 2 ranking in the Opposition with the important portfolios of iTaukei Affairs and Sugar with the shadow PM title to appease him and his supporters. The Friday ceremony was designed to bring unity to the ranks. It offered Ro Teimumu’s apologies for any decisions she had made that might have offended Ratu Naiqama and other MPs.

Among the issues, were the appointment of National Federation Party leader Dr Biman Prasad as Public Accounts Committee chairperson and his two colleagues Tupou Draunidalo and Prem Singh who are all part of the shadow Cabinet.

Her position as party leader is likely to be discussed in the party’s annual general meeting before the end of the year.

She could be relieved of the party leader’s position but carry on the Leader of the Opposition.

In Parliament, only the Opposition MPs have the power to elect a new leader.

As the issues emerged and threatened party unity, moves have intensified to mend fences and strengthen solidarity. Some in the caucus feel that the coalition with the NFP was a marriage of convenience because their policies are poles apart.

However, in the event of a leadership challenge, Ro Teimumu knows she can count on the three NFP members for support.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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