NATION

What’s Driving Lenora to Parliament?

Question and Answer with NFP’s Lenora Qereqeretabua National Federation Party (NFP) provisional candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua says she is not a politician yet. However, Ms Qereqeretabua said she was emphatic and
17 Feb 2018 11:00
What’s Driving Lenora to Parliament?
Lenora Qereqeretabua

Question and Answer with NFP’s Lenora Qereqeretabua

National Federation Party (NFP) provisional candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua says she is not a politician yet.

However, Ms Qereqeretabua said she was emphatic and believes that a woman’s representation in Parliament and Government must reflect their number in the population.

She said this can only happen if more women put their hands up and take up the privilege of being servants of the people.

1) As a woman politician, do you think that there should be more women representation in Fiji’s political arena?

I’m not a politician yet, but an emphatic, YES. Our representation in Parliament, Government and Opposition and in nation-building should be reflective of our numbers in the population.

That can only happen if more women put their hands up to take on the privilege of being servants of the people.

We women are naturally wired to be more compassionate and empathetic than men, it’s just how God made us.

This makes us ideal leaders, I believe, and when we can discuss with men issues of national importance – it can only enhance policies and laws, for the betterment of everyone in Fiji, but we have to be at the table first.

2) How do you feel as being one of the women provisional candidates alongside the likes of Lynda Tabuya and the Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa in SODELPA?

I consider it an honour to share this space with ladies with the experience of the Gone Marama Bale and Lynda.

While we come from different political parties, our ability to have conversations around a way forward for Fiji, and issues around improving women’s circumstances shows maturity and an understanding of how we need to work together as women for the greater good.

3) What inspired you to join politics this year and why the NFP?

I want to see so many things change in Fiji, change for the better.

I can write letters to the editor until the cows come home, I could rant and rave on social media until my fingers hurt, but the decisions that affect all of our lives, from freedom of the media, to freedom of worship, from how many cars come off the wharves annually, to the retirement age, from the cost of basic food items to how we protect our natural resources, are all made in Parliament.

I want to be in Government so the voices of those that believe in what I believe in are heard, and so that the laws needed to do this are developed, written and passed in an open and transparent way.

I was born and brought up in the Western side, and the NFP represents what I believe in: a multi-racial Fiji where we respect each other’s differences, where no one is above the law, and where if we want to lead, we must first serve.

4) Did you have any plans to join any other party apart from NFP? Or were you approached by any other political party?

Other parties approached me, but I am an NFP girl as they say.

5) You know rape and sexual assault statistics have increased in Fiji. How would you as an individual address this?

As a mother to my own daughter, and an aunt and a grandmother to extended links, I am only too aware that sexual assault stats are very serious.

I also know that state agencies as well as NGOs are at the forefront of dealing with these horrible situations.

There are also deeper societal triggers that are not being discussed or addressed that may help us all answer the question of “Why”.

Law’s are one thing, but if they are not addressing the issue, there has to be a process to make that happen and I will be talking about this more.

In the meantime I urge children, young people, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, counsellors and fathers, uncles, grandfathers to speak out if they observe patterns or behaviour that indicate the possibility of sexual assault, or if they know of it happening anywhere.

Another thing is this: All little children need to know the difference between good touching and bad touching. We all need to know how to recognise the signs of sexual assault, and we should make it our business to report it and offer help and sanctuary to survivors.

It is important for religious and cultural bodies to start talking about how to help in a concerted effort to address it because if it is left unaddressed, there will be greater societal ills manifesting from this grave problem.

6) What is your view on teachers or a public office holder or even politicians who have been charged for sexual assault? Should they be allowed to continue being a public office holder?

There are laws already in place on that front and they should be followed. If the laws are lacking, then they must be revised.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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