NEWS

ANALYSIS: Controversial MOU Puts Rabuka Back Under Spotlight

Sitiveni Rabuka’s SODELPA leadership is under scrutiny internally by disillusioned members in the wake of the Lynda Tabuya controversy. They are anxiously waiting for the ruling of the Fijian Elections
10 Jan 2018 10:36
ANALYSIS: Controversial MOU Puts Rabuka Back Under Spotlight
From left: Lynda Tabuya, SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Vijay Singh

Sitiveni Rabuka’s SODELPA leadership is under scrutiny internally by disillusioned members in the wake of the Lynda Tabuya controversy.

They are anxiously waiting for the ruling of the Fijian Elections Office, which is expected soon, on whether the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two complied with the provisions of the Political Parties Decree.

If the ruling is against both SODELPA and the suspended People’s Democratic Party, SODELPA members fear it would undermine the party’s general election chances.

And there is a growing movement waiting on the wings to hold those responsible to account.

It is believed that the MOU was sighted by only three SODELPA officials, Mr Rabuka,

MP and president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravai.

This created the perceived lack of transparency in the scrutiny of the MOU.

While Mr Rabuka was given the party mandate to initiate unity talks with other political parties, it did not mean unity at any cost, some members felt.

In hindsight, if  the party knew what happened to merger talks between FLP and PDP last September, it might have changed its position on the MOU.

Talks were progressing well when they were ended abruptly by differences over leadership.

It is now felt by some party members that it was a mistake committing to the controversial MOU because it was unclear how many PDP members would join SODELPA.

Preliminary reports show that the Fiji Labour Party is beginning to receive PDP members in some of its branches.

It is early days yet to determine the full impact of  the impending demise of PDP.

But, Mr Rabuka’s visit to the picket line of the striking Air Terminal Services workers in Nadi last month did not get the full support of party members.

Some were of  the view that the strike should not be politicised.

It became obvious that he was there to lend support to Ms Tabuya,  a vocal supporter of the strike, Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony (former PDP leader) and FTUC president Daniel Urai, all pioneers of the PDP.

There have been reports Mr Anthony and Mr Urai could be joining Ms Tabuya as SODELPA candidates but yesterday denied this.

As early as February last year Ms Tabuya had floated the idea of PDP teaming up with SODELPA in a board meeting.

But it was vigorously opposed by those who disagreed with SODELPA policies.

Mr Rabuka seriously pursued unity with other parties and when Ms Tabuya brought PDP to the negotiating table, he welcomed them with open arms.

He realised that for SODELPA to have a chance of winning the next election it needed the numbers and a multiracial image.

But first the Fijian Elections Office must give the clearance that the MOU complied with the Political Parties Decree.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper