NEWS

PM To Nadera Residents: Live and Vote Without Fear

Live without fear. Vote without fear. This was the reassurance by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday to residents of Kuluvota Moala Settlement at Nadera in Nasinu. Fiji Sun had reported
07 Aug 2017 11:00
PM To Nadera Residents: Live and Vote Without Fear
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) with Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum(standing) and Fiji Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho(left) at Kuluvota Moala in Nadera on August 6, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

Live without fear. Vote without fear.

This was the reassurance by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday to residents of Kuluvota Moala Settlement at Nadera in Nasinu.

Fiji Sun had reported on Saturday claims of Indo-Fijian women in the area who alleged that wife of Tui Kalabu Litia Rawiriwir, who is also the national President of the SODELPA Women’s Wing, had threatened them with eviction if they did not vote for SODELPA in the upcoming general elections.

Concerned that women in the area were living in fear, Mr Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho made an impromptu visit to the area.

A number of women and men voiced their concerns about what they had been told and were hearing.

While landowners from Kalabu came out and said Mrs Rawiriwiri did not represent them. The residents said she had been the only person they had been in contact with regarding the land they occupy on vakavanua (Tenancy at Will) arrangements.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Fiji Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho speaking to residence of Kuluvota Moala in Nadera on August 6, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Fiji Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho speaking to residence of Kuluvota Moala in Nadera on August 6, 2017. Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

The residents claimed that Mrs Rawiriwiri had been sending notices to evict people for other issues and that they recognised her as the Rani (Queen) of the area.

Mr Bainimarama told them he was not there as the Leader of FijiFirst but as their Prime Minister.

“I don’t want anyone in Fiji to be threatened, especially the women,” he said.

“You need to live without fear. Do not vote out of fear.

“It is your right to choose your own political party and it is your right to vote without fear.”

He urged them to speak up about the threats they faced so that other landowners with tenants living on their land on vakavanua arrangements would perceive it as a warning that some landowners could not threaten or coerce anyone.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also addressed the residents and told them that any coercion or threat was a criminal offence and that the residents needed to speak without any fear.

Mr Bainimarama said he knew the Tui Kalabu Ratu Paula Rawiriwiri personally and he would be speaking to the Tui Kalabu to find out what was happening to address the claims and fears of the residents.

After receiving assurances from the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, the residents spoke out.

They repeated what many had told the Fiji Sun.

“She said she can see our face and know who voted for SODELPA and who did not. Is there anyway ‘Rani’ will find out who we voted for?” one lady asked.

She was assured by Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that no one would know who voted for which candidate.

Mrs Rawiriwiri has denied all allegations.

Many residents also pointed out that the ‘Rani’ had her people also residing in the area who informed her of any discussions residents had regarding her.

Mr Bainimarama warned those people that they were walking on a very fine line and in order to please their ‘Rani’ not to do anything which could be criminal in nature.

SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi were yet to comment and respond to questions emailed to them when this edition went to press.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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