Top Three Tell Why They Should Be SODELPA Party Leader

The three front-runners in SODELPA’s leadership battle yesterday disclosed why they should be party leader. Former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, MP Viliame Gavoka and former diplomat Anare Jale responded to
21 Jun 2016 10:59
Top Three Tell Why They Should Be SODELPA Party Leader
In the running for the SODELPA party leader, from left Anare Jale, Viliame Gavoka and Sitiveni Rabuka.

The three front-runners in SODELPA’s leadership battle yesterday disclosed why they should be party leader.

Former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, MP Viliame Gavoka and former diplomat Anare Jale responded to questions sent by the Fiji Sun.

The other two candidates, Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca and MP Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki, were also sent the same questions. But they had not replied when this edition went to press.

The new leader would be announced on Friday during the party’s annual general meeting in Suva. The questions are:


Do you believe you have what it takes to become an effective party leader for SODELPA?

What new things will you bring to the party when you become party leader?

Do you believe that SODELPA has a realistic chance of winning the 2018 election?

How can SODELPA defeat the FijiFirst party in the next election?


Anare Jale

SODELPA requires a leader who can unite the party. I have unquestioning loyalty to SODELPA having supported the Party from its beginnings and I am able to have discussions with all members and communities that support the Party.

I believe my values, experiences and leadership style and traditional linkages can bridge the divide within the party and mobilise groundswell grassroots support. I bring a fresh face to politics and will also bring a suitably qualified team.

My track record is proven and unshakeable as a leader of the Fiji public service and a diplomat, I understand how the machinery of government works, and I believe my experience is needed at this time.

My honesty and clean record  is important.

I am bold and courageous and have demonstrated with my life, my belief in the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

Indeed SODELPA has a real and strong chance of winning the 2018 elections.

In 2016, we only had six months and won 13 seats in Parliament with all the challenges faced. We will be better prepared this time.

SODELPA needs to be united to win the 2018 general elections and to appeal to both iTaukei and the wider community.

Many who voted for FijiFirst in the last elections have become disillusioned and we so we need to be able to offer a vision for Fiji that is more than just “goodies” that meet people’s day to day needs.


Sitiveni Rabuka

I believe I have something to contribute to SODELPA and the nation.  I also believe the other aspirants to the post of Party Leader of SODELPA also have special characteristics and strengths that can make them good Party Leaders, so it is up to the Selection Panel to pick who they feel will serve the party better than the rest.

I do not have much else to offer except the strengths I showed when I led the SVT Party in Parliament as Prime Minister, a ‘heart for Fiji’.  I am packaging my vision on this journey under the three Values: Sincerity, Honesty and Compassion and the slogan ‘Do what is right with malice towards none.

Yes, and that chance improves if SODELPA can solicit the co-operation of the other Parties not in Government. FijiFirst amassed the formidable number of 293,714 Votes in 2014 while SODELPA  could only manage 139,857 – 153,857 votes adrift!

The other parties and the two independents polled 62,793.  All the non-governing political parties had the support of 202,650 voters.  That is still 91,063 short of FijiFirst.

There is a crop of new voters and also the natural population attrition rate due to deaths and migration, so the field is open for a great contest in the next General Elections, however FijiFirst is the governing group and it is always difficult to suddenly change the tide of voters support in a single life of Parliament in democracies.


Viliame Gavoka

I wonder if I can round off your questions this way:

SODELPA is a liberal party and as such has a liberal platform. Somehow SODELPA has been characterised as racist, and with that we are perceived as extremists, but a liberal party has no extremes and that characterisation is most unfortunate.

Liberalism is a must in Fiji as we evolve towards a truly multiracial society with each one a citizen of equal worth.

The Party Leader has this huge challenge of changing that perception going into 2018.

I believe that I am well suited to articulate the vision of SODELPA and characterise it as a truly liberal party.

It calls for communication skills within parliament, amongst people (known as retail politics), public forums, and through the media whether it’s print, television, radio or social media. I have highly developed skills and experience to communicate and connect.

Of particular concern are the youth ie people under 40 who make up some 70 per cent of the population and how to get to them. I have championed a number of issues oriented towards the youth, the most significant of which is free tuition at universities and technical colleges.

I enjoy working with the youth and I was particularly proud to have presented their petition in Parliament whereby they opposed changing the flag.

Government mistakenly believes the flag change is good for the youth, but to them it’s something they hold very dearly, and don’t wish to let go.

I am seen as the champion of the ordinary workers (my father was a trade unionist) having presented a petition on the tourism service fee which could greatly supplement the income of the tourism workers; also, I did a petition about the treatment of workers in one of our top hotels.

I have argued for better conditions for security officers and introduced a motion for a comprehensive insurance coverage for our troops on overseas assignment.

I get calls from all over Fiji to take up issues in parliament and I relish the challenge.I have presented petitions about people needing land and which have gone into committees for hearing.

I value traditions and culture and believe they should be protected and a liberal people must respect the value of each community and what they hold dear. The abolition of the GCC was very tragic and a blatant act of extremism which we strongly condemn.

I have spoken out against this in the petition I presented in parliament and debated with great passion and unison by both SODELPA and NFP, while Government chose to remain silent.

I am the Mata I Burebasaga, Mata I Namosi, Mata I Saunaka, Mata I Vuda and Mata I Yasawa for Nakuruvakarua, positions I hold with a great sense of responsibility.

Traditions include our spiritual beliefs and it was a sad day for Fiji when secularism replaced the Christian principles on which our nation was built. My ancestors were the ones sent by the Na Ka Levu to go to Bau and bring back the religion of Ratu Cakobau when it was known that the Vunivalu had converted to Christianity. This was in 1848 and still celebrated to this day in Nadroga/Navosa in my village, Sila.

For my people, the iTaukei their economic empowerment has to take place as Fiji cannot fully realise its full economic potential if close to 60 per cent of its population are not playing an active role in the economy.

This year we project GDP to be at $9.5 billion, imagine when the iTaukei are fully engaged.

We are the sleeping giant and we need to rise up for the economy to grow to unprecedented heights.

I have held senior positions in business and sits in the Committee on Economic Affairs of Parliament.

I will campaign on the slogan, “A rising tide lifts all boats”.

Fiji is a truly wonderful country and my joy in my country is reflected in the values I hold dear. We can agree to disagree, but it must be in a respectful and caring manner.

I have travelled widely and consider myself a global person, while firmly rooted in all that’s special about Fiji.



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