Analysis: Why Would SODELPA Want Us To Go Back To A Dark Past?

SODELPA must be out of its mind by saying that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) should be reinstated so that the chiefs can choose a new President. Was this the
01 Sep 2018 11:11
Analysis: Why Would SODELPA Want Us To Go Back To A Dark Past?
Opposition Members walk-out during the session of Parliament on August 31,2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

SODELPA must be out of its mind by saying that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) should be reinstated so that the chiefs can choose a new President.

Was this the real reason why its members of Parliament walked out from the debating chamber when the process started to reappoint Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote as President.

It said in a statement: “SODELPA is also of the view that following the declaration made by the Fiji Court of Appeal in April, 2009 inABU007 of 2009 that the 1997 Constitution that was done with wider consultation with the people of Fiji is still the supreme law of Fiji and the Bose Levu Vakaturaga must have the right to choose the Head of State.”

It’s laughable that they now condemn the 2013 Constitution under which they were elected to Parliament and gave them a voice.

They still refer to the 1997 Constitution, which is dead and buried and the BLV or Great Council of Chiefs with it.

The reason SODELPA gave for the walkout was that they were concerned about the legality of the appointment of the President.

Was that just a smokescreen to mask the real purpose of the walk out?

MP and lawyer Semesa Karavaki raised a Point of Order citing Section 84 of the 2013 Constitution which stipulates the process of appointment can only occur if there is a vacancy. There will be a vacancy in a few weeks when the first term expires.

At that time we could be going to the polls or in the final week of campaign when many politicians will be out on the campaign trail. It would be impractical to have  it then so under the doctrine of necessity it makes sense to reconvene Parliament now before the writ of elections is issued.

The time difference is only a matter of a few weeks so this is the ideal time to do it. The process is just mere formality.

SODELPA can take the matter to court, but honestly, what will they gain out it? Nothing. What I think will happen is that any decision made will be in the national interest – and the national interest is that we hold the general election before November 22.

The president’s first term expires on October 12. To try to convene Parliament then would be difficult because it would be right at the height of the election campaign followed by  polling.

SODELPA believes that Mr Konrote’s reappointment was illegal and could affect any major decisions such as the upcoming election. It even ventures to say there is a danger that when this President issues the writ of elections it can later be challenged as illegal as “he was not appointed in accordance with the Constitution and the repercussions for the country can be enormous”.

That’s what SODELPA likes to think and it fits into its agenda to try to undermine the integrity of the election. It and other Opposition political parties have unsuccessfully tried before to do it by claiming that this election is being rigged.

That’s why they have blown this issue up to mask their real intention – and that is to bring back the 1997 Constitution and the BLV. That’s what they will do if they win the election – change the electoral system so that we can go back to voting on racial lines and bring back the chiefs in the decision-making process on national issues.

We all know that we have tried this before, but it has failed miserably.

The BLV was a hotbed for politics and politicians used it as a forum to promote their own individual agenda. The old constitutions caused bitter ethnic, religious tension, division and acrimony. They also  perpetuated a culture of elitism among the chiefs and the privileged class.

The most serious impact was the coups of 1987 and 2000 which were the result of bitter ethnic and religious tension and division. They caused a lot of pain and suffering.

Why would SODELPA want to go back there?


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