Opinion

SODELPA Boycott A Political Blunder

Ro Teimumu Kepa has committed her most serious political blunder. Her boycott of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will come back to haunt her and SODELPA. At a time
20 Nov 2014 09:37
SODELPA Boycott A Political Blunder
From left: Kiribati President Anote Tong, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama and Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano. After Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Pacific Leaders hosted by Fiji. Photo: Deptfo News

Ro Teimumu Kepa has committed her most serious political blunder.

Her boycott of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will come back to haunt her and SODELPA.

At a time when she should have risen above petty politics for the sake of national interests, she chose otherwise.

The Opposition Leader and SODELPA leader has undermined her own leadership credibility, by failing to recognise that Mr Modi is no ordinary leader. He is the PM of the world’s biggest democracy and is widely respected throughout the world.

Ro Teimumu’s reason that the Opposition was denied the chance to give the vote of thanks in Parliament, after Mr Modi’s address, was frivolous.

If they wanted to be taken seriously, they would have attended the Modi functions, then raise the issue after he had left country.

The real reason why the vote of thanks did not go to the Opposition was because Government was wary of Opposition speech writers and what would end up in the final version.

Knowing SODELPA policies, Government did not want to risk it. It has been known that previous statements had gone off an a tangent.

Government’s position was fair enough. The Opposition should have taken it on the chin like Opposition partner member Dr Biman Prasad.

Dr Prasad said Mr Modi’s visit “provides a perfect opportunity to Government to showcase parliamentary democracy and inclusivity.”

Questions are being asked why there was no solidarity between SODELPA and the National Federation Party.

On the Modi issue, NFP leader Dr Prasad knew that it would have been political suicide if they followed SODELPA because Indo-Fijians, who admire Mr Modi, form the bulk of their party support.

This brings to question the role Dr Prasad will play in the Public Accounts Committee. A fragile unity exists in the SODELPA caucus over the proposed nomination of Dr Prasad as chairperson of the committee.

Dr Prasad’s decision to differ from SODELPA on the Modi issue has re-opened cracks in the caucus. The lack of unity is not a good look for the Opposition.

Dr Prasad knows that he has made the right decision and Ro Teimumu has not.

She has put their narrow political agenda above the interests of the whole nation. Mr Modi’s visit was a national event. Even leaders of the Pacific flew in just to meet with him yesterday in Suva.

Ro Teimumu’s claim that the chiefs were excluded from the traditional welcome ceremony was frivolous.

It is not clear what she meant. What was refreshing, though, was the opportunity given to the Sorokoba men of Ba, to perform for Mr Modi, and they did an excellent job.

Tomorrow, the Nakorotubu men of Ra, will perform the welcome ceremony for Chinese leader Xi Jinping. No doubt, they will do it in their own distinctive style. The showcasing of the different forms of ceremonies shows our rich cultural diversity.

SODELPA has misjudged the mood of the nation.

It will pay heavily for that.

 

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