NEWS

OPINION: Why SODELPA Is Silent

Some SODELPA members have allegedly been involved behind the scenes in the attempted formation of the so-called Christian Sovereign States in Ra, Nadroga and Navosa. This is why the party
25 Aug 2015 14:03
OPINION: Why SODELPA Is Silent
Nemani-Delaibatiki

Some SODELPA members have allegedly been involved behind the scenes in the attempted formation of the so-called Christian Sovereign States in Ra, Nadroga and Navosa.

This is why the party has so far failed to publicly condemn those illegal acts and dissociate itself from them.

Instead some party members like Viliame Gavoka have shown by their actions that they could sympathise with the alleged rebel groups.

It is believed that the alleged Christian state’s bid is part of a bigger plan to lobby international agencies that the Queen wrongly returned Fiji to the State when Fiji became independent in 1970. The petition is that Fiji should have been returned to the iTaukei chiefs who ceded Fiji to Great Britain on October 10, 1874. It’s the same idea proposed by the so-called Christian states.

A document outlining this was circulated to a select group to sign. Among those who have signed it include some descendants of the chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession in 1874.

The document found its way into SODELPA ranks. SODELPA president and Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu was approached to sign it but refused.

The movement gathered momentum after Mereoni Kirwin, a Sydney-based indigenous activist visited Fiji last year.

While here she met the wife of a senior minister of a Christian denomination. The minister’s wife then introduced Ms Kirwin to a senior SODELPA official who later linked up with some descendants of the 1874 chiefs.

Prayer sessions were organised and they still happen today. Traditional intake songs (vucu), dances (meke) and poems (serekali) were revived to reinforce the indigenous spirit and culture and help bolster support for the new movement.

It runs in harmony with the opposition to the Secular State and the crusade to declare Fiji a Christian state.

At the height of the founding of the movement, another SODELPA member made frequent trips from Suva to Ra to help with the setting up of the so-called Christian state in liaison with Ms Kirwin.

Ms Kirwin is one of the kingpins of the movement, providing advice, financial support, paraphernalia, literature, and all the propaganda about the Christian state from the comforts of her Sydney home.

She is the author of the document that was secretly circulated and signed.

The signed document was to be presented to the International Court of Justice. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).

Ms Kirwin’s aim was to file the case at the ICJ (as she promised) and use a few provinces to declare independence from the government to reflect that the Queen was wrong to hand over the independence order to the state.

SODELPA MP and lawyer Niko Nawaikula has been singing a similar tune when he attacks the 17 decrees in his bid to promote the indigenous cause.

The Fiji Native Tribal Congress, of which Mr Nawaikula is general secretary, has allegedly been used as the vehicle to feed people’s mind about this ideology. Whether there is any link between the two organisations is not clear.

But there is talk that this movement will reach its objective in October to coincide with Independence Day celebrations on the 10th.

It is alleged that the military-style training in the hills of Ra was part of the overall plan as seen by some.

Ratu Naiqama returns from Australia today. As SODELPA president, he should state the party’s position on the so-called Christian states to avoid continuing speculations and fragmentation in the party.

It should be among the top priorities in the to-do-list that includes the inquiry into a confidential report critical of Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa’s leadership and the Opposition Office arrangements.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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