Ro Dona Hits Back At Rabuka In Fee Row

SODELPA vice-president Ro Dona Takalaiyale yesterday hit back at his party leader Sitiveni Rabuka over the $2 mem­bership row. Ro Dona said he was saddened and disappointed that Mr Rabuka
27 Feb 2018 11:45
Ro Dona Hits Back At Rabuka In Fee Row
SODELPA Vice President Ro Dona Takalaiyale (left) and party leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

SODELPA vice-president Ro Dona Takalaiyale yesterday hit back at his party leader Sitiveni Rabuka over the $2 mem­bership row.

Ro Dona said he was saddened and disappointed that Mr Rabuka had raised the issue publicly, casting doubt on his membership.

He broke his silence after Mr Rabuka questioned in the Fiji Sun yesterday his membership and credibility for calling for a special general meeting to discuss “serious internal issues”.

Ro Dona is one of five senior party members who sought the meeting to discuss, among others things, the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SODELPA and the People’s Demo­cratic Party (PDP) and the election of Vijay Singh as a SODELPA vice-president.

But, Supervisor of Elections Mo­hammed Saneem ruled that Mr Singh had breached the Political Parties decree because he was not a financial member when he was elected.

He also referred the matter to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Ro Dona said he had read the Fiji Sun on Mr Rabuka, “doubting my membership for SODELPA based on a $2 subscription fee”.

He said Mr Rabuka “had noted that the Gone Marama Bale Na Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa, had paid some money and the confirma­tion of whom the money was for could have been easily handled.”

Ro Dona said party president Turaga Bale na Tui Cakau Ratu, Naiqama Lalabalavu, and Mr Rabu­ka questioning his role could have been handled better by simply ask­ing Ro Teimumu as for whose mem­bership she was paying for.

“I understand last week she had communicated with the party about the money and had said she paid for the Rewa members of her constitu­ency.”

Ro Dona said there were people present who witnessed that the money was given without any re­ceipt.

Ro Dona further said it was impor­tant to note the FICAC issue on Mr Singh was still outstanding.

“We wrote three letters from last year and have asked them about that letter that we were disappoint­ed with how the December Special General Meeting (SGM) was co-or­dinated without following the meet­ing agenda paper and without any financial report,” he said.

“We have financial members from overseas and they would want to know the financial status of the party. Unfortunately that SGM had no financial report.”

Ro Dona said: “At the moment I know I am still the vice-president.”

“Most Fijians are looking to SO­DELPA and supporting the party, but many don’t know what is hap­pening in the party.

“But, if the FICAC or law came upon us or the Fijian Elections Of­fice it will be too late for us to solve anything.

“I wrote a letter in my position as SODELPA vice president and as president of Rewa Constituency to the party president.

“But the Tui Cakau wrote back and told me I was not the vice presi­dent because I was not a member at that December meeting.”

Party president Ratu Naiqama could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ro Dona on reconciliation

Ro Dona reiterated the wish of Ro Teimumu for a reconciliation to re­solve internal differences and griev­ances in order to move forward.

Ro Dona said Ro Teimumu had already met with Mr Rabuka and requested that a meeting be held, for the members to sit and have a talanoa because emails were not a solution and if not solved the issues would be carried on to the 2018 Gen­eral Election.

“She thought the party leader would sort this out, but we don’t know he has backed out from her request,” he said.

“Ro Teimumu wanted all those members involved in the controver­sial Gaunavinaka Report and the rest of the party members to iron out their differences.

“She said it would be better for them to sit, all who were involved in the report, to ask for forgiveness and move on, so most of those who supported the report are still here and some are standing in this elec­tion again.

“Ro Teimumu said if not solved issues would continue after elec­tion. They talked about this after the candidates’ announcement in December.

“Initially when Rabuka was ap­pointed as party leader he was keen to bring Ro Teimumu to his side.

“The exit of Ro Teimumu as party leader was initiated when Rabuka was brought in, they voted for Rabu­ka and a lot of his followers voted for him.”

He said Ro Teimumu had initially planned to return to Rewa and con­centrate on the women and youth group. Edited by Percy Kean


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