NEWS

Rabuka: I’m In The Race

Sitiveni Rabuka has joined the contest for  party leader of SODELPA. Fiji’s first coup leader and later Prime Minister confirmed last night that he was approached and he said yes.
02 Jun 2016 10:41
Rabuka: I’m In The  Race
Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka in Suva last night. Photo: Jessica Goundar INSERT:Others In The Contest 1.SODELPA Opposition member Ratu Isoa Tikoca. 2.SODELPA management board member Anare Jale. 3.SODELPA Opposition member Viliame Gavoka.

Sitiveni Rabuka has joined the contest for  party leader of SODELPA.

Fiji’s first coup leader and later Prime Minister confirmed last night that he was approached and he said yes.

It is understood that other candidates are MP Viliame Gavoka, Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca and SODELPA board member Anare Jale.

The winning candidate will take up the position on June 25 when SODELPA holds its annual general meeting in Suva. He will replace Ro Teimumu Kepa who lost the post after sweeping changes were made to the party constitution last year in a special general meeting.

Mr Rabuka looked relaxed when I spoke to him at his Namadi Heights home in Suva. He declared his availability and said he was asked to send his curriculum vitae  which he did before the closing of nominations on Tuesday.

Mr Rabuka was quietly confident of his nomination this time around. In 2014, he was strongly opposed by the women’s wing led by Ro Teimumu Kepa and the youth wing. Ro Teimumu later accepted to become party leader because she opposed Mr Rabuka for his coup involvement.

In retrospect, Mr Rabuka said he had inquired with those who formally approached him whether his application would be a waste of time.

“What about the blocking devices that were applied on me in 2014? If that will happen again, then there will be no point.”

He said no one replied to his query.

Mr Rabuka said he was nominated by the Cakaudrove constituency council. It is believed he also has the support of the Bua and Macuata provinces. The endorsement of the CBM bloc means SODELPA’s Vanua Levu and Taveuni supporters want him as party leader.

He said his vision for Fiji remained the same.

 

“I’d like to continue what I tried to build into the 1997 Constitution and the coalition with the National Federation Party that we move away from ultra-nationalistic stance in our politics and have an all embracing policy where we all move forward together,” he said.

“The FijiFirst has introduced the one name for all of us, which I had proposed in 1987, but having the same name does not eliminate our differences.  So we need a genuine effort to bring everybody together, to work together – that is if I make it to be the party leader.”

SODELPA’s interim general secretary, Adi Litia Qionibaravi,  said that the party only accepted applications that came through one of the 28 SODELPA constituency councils.

Individuals cannot nominate themselves.

“Nominations are still being processed at the moment and I can’t confirm how many we have received so far,” Adi Litia said.

It is understood that Ratu Isoa was nominated by the Tailevu constituency council.

Mr Gavoka was nominated by Serua, Nadroga, Navosa and Ba constituencies.  Mr Jale was nominated by Nasinu and Lau constituencies.

The applications will be vetted to ensure they are compliant with the Electoral Decree requirements.

This will be followed by an interview process where applicants will face a number of professionals plus the SODELPA management board.

The process of whether the names that pass the interview will be voted for during the AGM or whether the interview process is final is yet to be confirmed.

The two options “will be decided as we go along,” Adi Litia said.

 

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 

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