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ANALYSIS: Political Stars Of The Week

“The Mary Kom Trio” Women have every right to be in boxing, fighting by rules sanctioned by international boxing authorities. It’s pretty straight forward, whether it’s the amateur or professional
15 Feb 2015 10:14
ANALYSIS: Political Stars Of The Week
Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Veena Bhatnagar (left), with Assistant Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Lorna Eden.

“The Mary Kom Trio”

Women have every right to be in boxing, fighting by rules sanctioned by international boxing authorities. It’s pretty straight forward, whether it’s the amateur or professional version of the game.

That’s why three female members of Government were quick to knock down suggestions that women couldn’t be in the boxing ring. Opposition parliamentarian Semesa Karavaki didn’t expect the flurry of verbal punches from the other side.

Minister for Lands, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, was quick to counter, then Assistant Minister for Industry Lorna Eden and then Assistant Minister for Health Veena Bhatnagar added her own comments outside Parliament to the waiting media.

The debate on women in boxing is symptomatic of a bigger cultural struggle in Fiji.

Women want equal rights. They deserve to be allowed equal participation in every sphere of society.

Veteran women’s rights activist Shamima Ali’s snide comments about women having to live in homes that were regular boxing rings because of the violent acts committed against them rings loud and clear. There is a big difference between supporting the legitimate rights of women to compete in contact sports, with clearly established rules, and opposing criminal acts of domestic violence.

Mrs Bhatnagar was quick to point to Indian sporting hero, May Kom, as a source of inspiraLornation for her.

The sporting icon, recently portrayed by top Bollywood Priyanka Chopra in the 2015 movie bearing her name, is an eight-time world amateur boxing champion.

She inspires Fijian women politicians to hold their ground in their chosen profession, no matter the opposition.

Niko Nawaikula

The former deputy speaker of Parliament has an opinion on everything.

He is easily the most visible member of the Opposition. His over-eagerness to respond to the Government’s statements often gets him into trouble with the Speaker, Jiko Luveni, who has warned him several times to stick to the topic, address the Speaker or to stop making disruptive comments while Government members are speaking.

He does have some questionable political baggage but he deserves to be commended.

His petition on behalf of a group of concerned citizens about the proposed construction of a four-star hotel at Lautoka’s Shirley Park will provide some interesting political commentary in the next few days.

Actually, the rest of the Opposition members need to take note. Mr Nawaikula is actually being the conduit of civic concern. Unlike the Opposition’s other obsession with 2000 coup leader George Speight, Mr Nawaikula’s efforts might actually pay off.

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 




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