Opinion

EDITORIAL: Deafening Silence From Women Leaders In The Opposition Camp. Why?

Women who have announced their intention to run for public office cannot keep quiet about the rape allegations hanging over National Federation Party provisional election candidate, Romanu Tikotikoca. So far
14 Feb 2018 13:38
EDITORIAL: Deafening Silence From Women Leaders In The Opposition Camp. Why?
From left: Lynda Tabuya , Lenora Qereqeretabua and Ro Teimumu Kepa

Women who have announced their intention to run for public office cannot keep quiet about the rape allegations hanging over National Federation Party provisional election candidate, Romanu Tikotikoca.

So far women’s groups have spoken out albeit diplomatically about the allegations. But women such as Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa, SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro, NFP provisional candidates Lenora Qereqeretabua and Anshu Lata, SODELPA provisional Lynda Tabuya, its general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi have all refrained from speaking to media.

This is not just an issue of a political party candidate. This is also about a former holder of a public office. Mr Tikotikoca was the Fijian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea at the time of the alleged rape.

He is alleged to have paid 45,000 kina (FD$28,900) to compensate the victim’s husband. The payments were made in front of a Catholic Church in Port Moresby.

So, why the silence?

Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa has said it well.

And, she has asked some important questions – we all know that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

“But for those aspiring to be parliamentarians, the onus to ask ourselves the hard questions before standing for elections is real: Are we worthy of representing our fellow Fijians in parliament?

“Do we epitomise what the average law-abiding, morally astute Fijian citizen looks for in a leader?

“If we answer that question affirmatively then we leave it to our peers – the voters of Fiji to judge our decision during election time.

“At the end of the day it is the public perception that becomes the yardstick for somebody who has been alleged to have committed such an offence and has been allowed by his or her party to stand for elections under that party’s banner.”

But the silence from women leaders in the Opposition camp has been deafening.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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