ANALYSIS: SODELPA Seeks Help To Beef Up Policies

Changes to SODELPA’s constitution show the party will use intellectual power and  professional expertise to beef up its policies for the 2018 general election. Architects of the amended constitution feel
12 Sep 2015 16:06
ANALYSIS: SODELPA Seeks Help To Beef Up Policies
Sodelpa member Mick Bedddoes (third from left), during the party’s annual general meeting at Epworth House on Thursday. Photo: Rama

Changes to SODELPA’s constitution show the party will use intellectual power and  professional expertise to beef up its policies for the 2018 general election.

Architects of the amended constitution feel strongly that in order to counter FijiFirst the party must produce progressive policies with substance.

The enlarged new Management Board, among its many expanded operational roles, will “establish and maintain a Think Tank through a database of resource personnel who are able to provide expert knowledge, advice, critical analysis via sound research methods to support the party’s strategic planning and decision-making.”

A Presidential Council will also be set up chaired by SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. There will be

three other members, a political advisor, economic advisor and legal advisor. The advisors will regularly brief Ratu Naiqama  on issues in their respective disciplines.

This will complement monthly reports from the parliamentary leader (currently Ro Teimumu Kepa the Opposition leader) and the new party leader to be appointed.

There have been concerns within the party hierarchy about the standard and depth of public statements made from the Opposition Office in the past. The statements have not enhanced the image of the party.

Similar concerns have been raised about the standard of parliamentary debates.

The amended constitution has raised the bar right across the board in the party. It addresses accountability and transparency to ensure that all communication agrees with party policies.

For example, Ro Teimumu is now required to do the following:

– Receive direction on the expectations and directives of the party from the Management Board and ensures this is communicated in writing to all party MPs

– Shall ensure that the Parliamentary Committee plans the parliamentary timetable, the legislative agenda; the ordering of parliamentary business and such other responsibilities as it is given from time to time by the Management Board.

– Ensures that the annual parliamentary work plan is prepared in alignment to the strategic plan of the party and party manifesto.

– Ensures visibility of the party in their parliamentary role

– Provides monthly reports to the Management

Board and this report will entail the progress of the Parliamentary Work Plan with regards to the implementation of the party manifesto, annual work plan and which have been aligned to the strategic plan of the party

– The constituency visitations is the responsibility of the party office (They used to be organised from the Opposition Office). The party leader/parliamentary leader shall consult each other on constituency and the party may jointly organise such visits after the approval of Management Board.

– Ensure the proper management of the parliamentary communication matters on parliamentary issues only

– Ensure the parliamentary office staff and funding is administered in accordance with Government policies and procedures as well as the Political Parties Decree and party directives.

Ro Teimumu will be measured on these key performance indicators.

The General Assembly, as the supreme body, shall determine the platform of the party.

But the Management Board is the governing body. It is presided by the party president and three vice-presidents. Other members include the party leader, parliamentary leader, three MPs appointed by parliamentary caucus, 28 Constituency Council representatives, three Women’s reps, two Youth reps and the party general secretary.

The next layer down is the Constituency Council followed by chapters. All have their structures and follow directives from the Management Board.

The voices of the majority wanted the changes despite opposition from the Opposition Office group of Ro Teimumu, Mick Beddoes (principal administration officer), his assistant Adi Laufitu Malani and Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca and MPs Jiosefa Dulakiverata, Anare Vadei and Ratu Sela Nanovo.

Ro Teimumu has lost her party leader role. Her replacement will be appointed by June next year. Mr Beddoes, Adi Laufitu and other office staff will have to reapply for their jobs when they are readvertised.

The new provisions require that key positions with be advertised under the new terms and conditions.

Full marks to SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu for steering the party’s annual general meeting to the anticipated outcome.

Despite attempts to delay the process for reforms, Ratu Naiqama stuck to his guns.

Sensing the urgency for a resolution, Ratu Naiqama pressed on and wanted a decision on the proposed amendments to the party’s constitution in Thursday’s meeting in Suva.

He said they were running out of time and they needed to prepare for the 2018 general election. They could not afford a delay, he added.

SODELPA has finally done it. Now it means business as it begins to put the new processes and structures in place.

What is left now is the execution.



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