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SODELPA Manifesto Launch Plan In Australia Surprises Some Members

SODELPA’s plan to launch its 2018 General Election manifesto in Sydney, New South Wales, has caught some party members by surprise. It underscores the deepening  crisis that is plaguing the
28 Feb 2018 11:53
SODELPA Manifesto Launch Plan In Australia Surprises Some Members
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu in Suva on February 27, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

SODELPA’s plan to launch its 2018 General Election manifesto in Sydney, New South Wales, has caught some party members by surprise.

It underscores the deepening  crisis that is plaguing the top hierarchy of the party leadership.

Sydney party members have widely advertised that they will be hosting an island night and manifesto launch in Padstow, New South Wales on March 10.

This is the first time a political party will be launching its manifesto overseas.

A party official in Suva confirmed that party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and national candidate Lynda Tabuya will attend the launch.

Among those who were surprised was Anare Jale, one of the three vice-presidents.

He said: “I’m sorry, but I don’t know anything about that launch.”

Other members contacted, who did not wanted to be named, questioned why the launch would be in Australia and not Fiji, especially when it is in the middle of the March sitting of Parliament and all SODELPA MPs would be committed.

It would be pretty tight if they want to fly there, attend the launch, and return for the resumption of Parliament on March 12.

Organisers say the event is expected to attract global traction from supporters worldwide.

The event was promoted on several SODELPA facebook pages.

The launch will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Padstow Bowling Club. Chief Guest is Mr Rabuka and tickets are selling at AUS$70 (F$110.44)

Party president and MP Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu refused to comment when he was approached during the Public Accounts Committee in Suva yesterday.

General secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi did not respond to queries sent to her and Mr Rabuka could not be reached to comment.

The deafening silence is indicative of the worsening row splitting the party between members loyal to Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and members who support Ratu Naiqama, Mr Rabuka and Adi Litia.

In the recent public spat, Ro Dona Takalaiyale hit back at Mr Rabuka over his comments about the $2 membership fight and Ro Teimumu’s decision to contest the election and put her retirement plan on hold after her subjects in Rewa asked her to stand again.

Ro Dona, a vice-president  and Ro Teimumu’s traditional spokesperson (matanivanua) in her capacity as Marama Bale Roko Tui Dreketi, paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga confederacy.

Ro Dona is the leader of a group of five senior officials who petitioned the party leaders to call a special general meeting to discuss:

The controversial memorandum of understanding (MOU) between SODEPA and People’s Democratic Party

The ruling by the Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem that Vijay Singh’s election as a SODELPA vice-president breached the Political Parties decree and referred the matter to FICAC

Financial issues

The way the December 9 special general meeting was conducted.

Ratu Naiqama had questioned Ro Dona whether he was a financial member because there was no evidence he had paid his $2 membership fee.

And because of that Ro Dona had no right to ask questions about party issues. If he Ro Dona was not a financial member then his election on December 9 was also null and void just like Mr Singh.

But Ro Dona had said that Ro Teimumu had paid for 10 of the Rewa constituency members including him on December 9, but no receipt was issued.

Ro Teimumu had also asked for reconciliation as the party was still suffering from the fallout from the controversial Gaunavinaka Report.

These are all outstanding issues that the party has yet to resolve.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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