Opinion

Bulitavu Cannot Separate Personal And Official Comments In Public Forums

He is naïve to think that he is going to get away with a fleeting derogatory remark. All MPs should realise that once they get into the public space, they are subject to scrutiny
08 Jul 2019 18:21
Bulitavu Cannot Separate Personal And Official Comments In Public Forums
SODELPA president Ro Filipe Tuisawa and SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu.

Opinion:

SODELPA Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu is naïve to think that he will escape the consequences of his outrageous and racist remarks about the Indo-Fijian community.

He said he had apologised, but when he tried to justify it by saying it was a personal comment, he showed that he had lost the plot.

Mr Bulitavu and all his parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the House must realise that they are public figures 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They will be held accountable for what they think, say and do by virtue of the fact that they have sworn on oath to serve the people of Fiji to the best of their ability.

They have been given the mandate by the voters to protect the interests of all people irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status.

For Mr Bulitavu to denigrate women and men from one particular ethnic group is a breach of that public trust.

People in Fiji look up to Parliament as a source of hope and inspiration.

It is where laws are made – laws that will protect all people from the most vulnerable of society, the poor, the destitutes, the elderly, the physically disabled, the sick, women and children to those in positions of power and influence like him.

When Mr Bulitavu posted his “personal comments” on social media what did he expect?

Unless he was suffering from social amnesia, his action was inexcusable and he cannot hide behind the party to defend him.

He must face the full consequences of his action because of its potential negative impact on race relations in this country.

The party should be partly blamed for Mr Bulitavu’s errant ways.

If it had mechanisms in place to deal with members and MPs like Mr Bulitavu, we might not have reached this situation.

He needs to go through the party disciplinary process, if there is one, despite his apology.

This is the same MP who came out calling on then Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa to step down pending an investigation after the exposure of the controversial Gaunavinaka Report. The fallout from the dispute split the party.

After an inquiry, everyone was pardoned. But the whole process was regarded as a joke.

When Youth Wing president Jope Koroisavou petitioned the party with a raft of questions that he wanted answered on governance issues, he was criticised by Mr Bulitavu.

Those issues have now been addressed in the Mesake Nawari Report.

The recommendations vindicated Mr Koroisavou’s concerns.

Mr Bulitavu was supporting party headquarters.

It will be interesting to see how the new leadership of president Ro Filipe Tuisawau will deal with the maverick MP.

We should not expect any surprises if the party statement on Bulitavu issued last Friday was anything to go by.

The Police are investigating his action.

There is no doubt that this issue will be brought up in the next session of Parliament.

In that session, MPs should be reminded to watch what they say publicly.

They will be judged by the people

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