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Naitasiri Party President Quits As Deputy Leader Row Escalates

Naitasiri Party President Quits As Deputy Leader Row Escalates
October 11
09:57 2018

Naitasiri SODELPA president Kelemedi Naidiri has resigned because he is disillusioned by what’s happening in the party.

His resignation comes in the wake of the latest row over the party deputy leader post as internal differences con­tinue to escalate.

Mr Naidiri confirmed last night that he had informed party headquarters and the Supervisor of Elections Mo­hammed Saneem by letter of his res­ignation.

He said there were a number of is­sues but he declined to go into detail.

He said he was joining Unity Fiji.

In the latest incident SODELPA presi­dent Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu was forced to release a statement that he is the party president and not the deputy party leader.

But party leader Sitiveni Rabuka, in two separate interviews with FBC News confirmed that Ratu Naiqama was the party’s deputy leader.

His version was refuted by party gen­eral secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi who had even attempted to get FBC News to pull out the story.

Despite her response, Mr Rabuka went on air and confirmed for the sec­ond time that the decision to appoint Ratu Naiqama as deputy party leader had already been made.

However, in a separate statement, Ratu Naiqama revealed he remained president of the party.

He said: “I remain party president, and I am not the deputy party leader. At this point in time, SODELPA does not have a deputy party leader or even an acting deputy party leader – that will be a decision and process to be un­dertaken by the party’s management board, under the provisions of the amended party constitution.

“I have spoken to the party leader, and he has asked me to make this clari­fication.

The process and appointment of the deputy party leader, is a decision yet to be made by the management board.”

Mr Rabuka could not be reached to comment regarding this statement. But it is clear there is confusion at the top of the party hierarchy.

The fallout is expected to weaken uni­ty and affect the party’s chances in the November 14 General Election.

Mr Naidiri’s resignation is part of that fallout. Mr Naidiri, who is also the chairman of the Naitasiri Rugby Un­ion, had led the delegation that moved a motion for the creation of the deputy leader post at the party’s annual gen­eral meeting in Namoli Village, Lauto­ka on June 30 in case Mr Rabuka loses his court case and the post.

Mr Rabuka is facing charges relating to the declaration of his personal as­sets and liabilities.

The motion was rejected.

But later the content of that motion became the substance of an amend­ment to the constitution agreed at the Nawanawa, Nadera special general meeting on September 1.

It was decided to advertise the depu­ty leader post.

To date it has not happened.

A growing number of party mem­bers, like Mr Naidiri, are not happy with the decisions of senior party of­ficials. Naitasiri also had a motion that Adi Litia be relieved of her responsi­bilities as general secretary because they were not happy with her perfor­mance.

That motion was rejected in Lautoka.

On Tuesday, Mr Saneem rejected the submission of the list of nomination of SODELPA’s provisional candidates because the accompanying cheque was a party cheque not a bank cheque.

Adi Litia, who made the submission, was told to return with a bank cheque or cash.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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