NATION

Analysis: Uneasy Calm Pervades SODELPA After Ruling

An uneasy calm pervades the inner sanctums of SODELPA in the wake of the ruling of the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem on a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU
16 Jan 2018 15:56
Analysis: Uneasy Calm Pervades SODELPA After Ruling
From left: Lynda Tabuya, SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Vijay Singh.

An uneasy calm pervades the inner sanctums of SODELPA in the wake of the ruling of the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem on a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU between SODELPA and the suspended People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has become the bane of the party’s preparation for the 2018 General Election.

It appeared that SODELPA was beginning to move up another gear in its election campaign when the MOU controversy erupted. It caught many off guard, surprised and set back the party progress.

Questions have been asked internally whether the PDP would bring value to SODELPA because it is suspended and the members have scattered.

The next SODELPA general meeting is likely to thrash them out. Queries like “why wasn’t the MOU discussed and vetted by the party?” would be posed.

PDP did not win a seat in the last general election.

While Mr Saneem ruled that the MOU was not a merger document, he said the election of Vijay Singh (former PDP president) as a vice-president of SODELPA breached the Political Parties decree.

He has referred the matter to FICAC (Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption) for investigation.

The revelation that some members of the party had lodged complaints to Mr Saneem regarding this issue confirms that the MOU was not popular among some in the rank and file despite the fact that Mr Rabuka was given the mandate by the party to initiate unity talks with other Opposition parties.

The unhappy SODELPA members were quite surprised at the speed in which the party admitted Mr Singh and former PDP leader Lynda Tabuya into the party. Ms Tabuya is emerging as a face of SODELPA in its push to broaden its base to include the labour movement support.

Her rapid rise as a SODELPA member has been treated with caution by some. Others, however, think the party needs a livewire like her to spark the party’s campaign.

Could she be shaping up as No 2 to Mr Rabuka in the leadership pecking order? That thought has even been entertained by some.

But the MOU stands between her and  any leadership ambition.

Those who filed the complaint with Mr Saneem are waiting for FICAC to reach an outcome in its investigations.

While Mr Singh is the only one mentioned in this case, they are waiting to see the implications of an outcome on the party before they could take their planned course of action.

At this time in 2014, SODELPA was in full swing with its campaign. So far we have not heard that a campaign manager has been appointed. A campaign manager will then work out a campaign strategy.

One of the reasons of the delay could be linked to the controversial MOU.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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