Vanua Supersedes Party Constitution

Ratu Naiqama said it was decided at the General Assembly last year that the election of executive office bearers should be Vanua-based to be fair to everyone.
01 Jul 2019 17:19
Vanua Supersedes Party Constitution
Ro Filipe Tuisawau (standing) in Parliament. Photo: Parliament of Fiji


The election of SODELPA’s office bearers last Friday was a classic case of the Vanua taking precedence over the party constitution.

While nominating Ro Filipe Tuisawau as president, the Tailevu North delegate said Fijians needed the Vanua to be united to defeat the vulagis (foreigners).

What he meant was non-iTaukei, mainly Indo-Fijians who make up the majority of the FijiFirst party.

The delegate said the Rewa chief would be able to rally the people together for SODELPA to win the 2022 General Election.

The Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu backed the Vanua concept during the election of a vice president. Two candidates, Adi Litia Qionibaravi and Viliame Gavoka were nominated.

Ratu Naiqama said it was decided at the General Assembly At Namoli Village, Lautoka, last year that the election of executive office bearers should be Vanua based to be fair to everyone.

The party constitution does not say that the election of officials should be Vanua based.

Because Ro Filipe was from Rewa or Burebasaga the vice president should be Kubuna or Tovata Confederacies.

Mr Gavoka pulled out after that because he is from Burebasaga too. It allowed Adi Litia to go in.

The Vanua approach appeals to the base instincts of the iTaukei.

It was exploited in the old politics of the past to great effect for cheap political gains.

It will not work this time because ordinary iTaukei have learned a lesson from their past when they experienced that they were used by selfish politicians as pawns.

Even some chiefs were involved.

Already Ro Filipe’s admittance that he was an advisor to fiery nationalist leader Sakeasi Butadroka and a staunch member of the Vanua Levu based Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua (CAMV) have lowered the morale of members who have worked hard to broaden the indigenous power base to include other races.

They have tried to pull the party from the right to the centre.

Rewa Split

The traditional welcome ceremony for Ro Filipe in Savusavu in the absence of Ro Teimumu Kepa could have serious repercussions on unity in the Rewa province and Burebasaga Confederacy.

Their political differences have now spread to their traditional arena after he accepted the matanigasau (public apology) on her behalf.

That ceremony should have been performed in Rewa in front of Ro Teimumu, some strongly feel.

Many of her traditional subjects were aggrieved with the way she was treated by some members of the Vanua Levu bloc in a series of political moves that led to her relinquishing the party leader role in the last Parliament term.


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