NEWS

Why NFP Will Never Go Into A Coalition With Rabuka

ANALYSIS: The 1999 general election will continue to haunt the National Federation Party for as long as it exists. And this is why it will not go into coalition with
01 Apr 2017 09:28
Why NFP Will Never Go Into A Coalition With Rabuka
Sitiveni Rabuka

ANALYSIS: The 1999 general election will continue to haunt the National Federation Party for as long as it exists.

And this is why it will not go into coalition with SODELPA with Sitiveni Rabuka at the helm.

In 1999, Mr Rabuka’s SVT (Soqosoqoni Vakavulewani Taukei) forged a coalition with NFP led by Jai Ram Reddy.

But NFP’s supporters, predominantly Indo-Fijians, did not trust Mr Rabuka and the coalition and voted with their feet.

Mr Rabuka’s campaign to put an Indo-Fijian face to SODELPA by inviting other parties  introduces an element of race in this election campaign.

The NFP has reiterated that it would have no bar of it. It did not want to suffer another ignominious defeat when it was decimated in the 1999 poll. It failed to win a seat.

At a time of deep racial division and hatred in 1999, Mr Rabuka and Mr Reddy came up with a novel idea of uniting the two major ethnic groups. But the political environment was not conducive to it. So the idea failed spectacularly.

It proved that Indo-Fijians did not trust Mr Rabuka because of his involvement in the 1987 military coups.

Whether that resentment is still there is unknown. The NFP will not repeat the same mistake of 1999.

In 2014 it fought the election on its own and won three seats. And it will do the same in next year’s general election.

Mr Rabuka says in a statement that voting on racial lines will take some time to change.

“In terms of what the people of Fiji need: we need to progress and so we all need to co-operate, because no man, no community is an island. So SODELPA proposes to widen the horizon of all interest groups to embrace everyone and consider all compartmentalised interest groupings into a national will.

“We will encourage our people to come together on issues of common interest, because what is precious for the iTaukei is precious for the other races: the essentials in life.”

While Mr Rabuka is promising to safeguard the interests of everyone including minority groups, it is  clear from his latest statement that  there would not be a dramatic change in their manifesto. The move to put an Indo-Fijian face to SODELPA is a cosmetic exercise that will be difficult to find traction.

Indo-Fijians and other races will only join SODELPA if they believe everyone is given equal attention. The latest statement suggests that SODELPA is moving towards consolidating its indigenous base from where the bulk of its support came from in  2014.

Time is running out to attract the other races. Compartmentalising races, as has been suggested, is dragging us backwards.

We need to keep pressing forward by breaking the walls and getting everyone to mix.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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