Letter Shows Deeper Split In SODELPA

A new row within SODELPA has emerged and showed a deeper split in the party. A letter has been received by the party  claiming that the Vanua of Rewa “is deeply
24 Sep 2015 12:48
Letter Shows Deeper Split In SODELPA
Former Rewa Provincial Council chairman, Pita Tagicakiverata (left) and Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa outside Parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A new row within SODELPA has emerged and showed a deeper split in the party.

A letter has been received by the party  claiming that the Vanua of Rewa “is deeply hurt and disappointed by the cowardly and lowly aspersions” cast on Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa. Ro Teimumu is the Roko Tui Dreketi, paramount chief of Rewa Province and Burebasaga Confederacy.

The letter refers to the board inquiry, now underway, into a confidential report critical of Ro Teimumu’s leadership and governance in the Opposition Office and the five SODELPA MPs who called for the inquiry led by lawyer Mosese Bulitavu.

The board chairperson Anare Jale confirmed he had received the letter but said he could not comment on it.

The author of the letter is Jese Sikivou,   SODELPA’s Media & Liaison Officer and Private Secretary to Ro Teimumu.

But he said he was writing in his traditional role not as party official. Last night he declined to comment.

The letter said: “We have come to a point, where weight and consideration are being accorded to cowardly unsigned allegations of Gauna Vinaka (report), as touted from pillar to post in the public square by the likes of Mosese Bulitavo, his shadowy supporters and of all things unholy, the Fiji Sun,” the letter said.

“Allow me to close by conveying to you behind this scheming and machinations that the Vanua of Rewa is deeply hurt and disappointed by your cowardly and lowly aspersions and cheap pronouncements and in particular how certain parties have connived to trample and disrespect the traditional chiefly seat of the Roko Tui Dreketi.

“At the outset, please allow me to say that this statement does not have the prior approval nor the prior knowledge of the Gone Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi.

“This statement is submitted at the behest of the head of my mataqali, Ro Dona Takalaiyale, Taukei Navolau, Liuliu ni Sauturaga e Rewa, on behalf of our humble province.

“He has requested that we notify you of our very grave concern regarding the treatment and the gross disrespect shown to our Gone Marama Bale, specifically by Mosese Bulitavo and the signatories supporting his baseless allegations as well as their fellow travellers standing in the shadows egging them on.

“We take this opportunity to remind you and all of SODELPA that our Gone Marama Bale stood alone and stood tall, in darker more difficult times, publicly challenging the Bainimarama regime on various issues such as the revocation of the Great Council of Chiefs, protesting the Namosi Mining venture waste spillage, the cancellation of the Bose Ko Viti 2009 and even marched ahead of her people to hand deliver to Khaiyum, Rewa’s protests regarding the Bainimarama/Khaiyum constitution and the with withdrawal of the Yash Ghai draft.

“The likes of Mosese Bulitavo and his fellow travellers were nowhere to be seen or heard.

Even as recently as the Fiji flag protest, they did not stand to be counted.

“We still clearly recall general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu asking the Gone Marama Bale to launch SODELPA party and to become its Leader.

“At a lunch at the Holiday Inn, I specifically asked him to see a copy of the SODELPA constitution and manifesto so we could determine what he was asking the Gone Marama Bale to endorse and lead. Of course neither of the documents were close to being completed at that time.

“Yet the Gone Marama Bale put her traditional title and her reputation on the line and launched SODELPA, at a stirring speech delivered at the FTA Hall, which had the regime in a tailspin for two weeks.

“That was a hallmark speech that opened the floodgates and freed many people to start to voice their opinions against the regime.

“Since her involvement on the campaign trail, the personal contributions she makes in terms of sacrifices from the provision of kamunaga to her time and at the cost of her own personal campaign, Ro Dona has asked me to convey that SODELPA has responded with ill-mannered and entitled disposition and never was a mere thank you or acknowledgement received in return.

“Even in our darkest hours, when the Gone Marama Bale was arrested in the middle of the night from her chiefly residence, there was no material nor moral support from SDL/SODELPA.

“May I remind you that she defied the regime to defend the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma and the vanua.

Going into the elections last year, we put to you that no other public figure in Fiji, opposed to the regime, carried the same gravitas and reputation as that of our Gone Marama Bale.

“The newly launched SODEPA exploited the Gone Marama Bale’s public goodwill and profile, as a launch pad to catapult itself into the public eye and to maintain a strong position, as the single strongest voice against the regime.

Opposition spokesperson, Mick Beddoes did not wish to comment. MPs Anare Vadei, Jiosefa Dulakiverata, Viliame Gavoka, Aseri Radrodro also declined to comment.

“The letter was copied to them and party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu (could not be reached)  and financier Sakiusa Raivoce (no comment). Ro Teimumu refused to comment.



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