Politics

Rabuka Caught Out In Hero Bid Over Peace Deal

The fact is Mr Bainimarama had reached out to the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, on August 9, making clear his intention to apologise to Mr Tikoduadua. A few days later, he again reached out to Ratu Epeli and reiterated his intention to apologise to Mr Tikoduadua.
04 Sep 2019 10:37
Rabuka Caught Out In Hero Bid Over Peace Deal
Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka at Parliament on September 3, 2019 Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka has jumped into action, wanting to emerge as the hero who sought reconciliation between Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and National Federation Party’s Pio Tikoduadua.

But he is not the hero.

The fact is Mr Bainimarama had reached out to the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, on August 9, making clear his intention to apologise to Mr Tikoduadua. A few days later, he again reached out to Ratu Epeli and reiterated his intention to apologise to Mr Tikoduadua.

But it was Mr Tikoduadua who refused to meet Ratu Epeli and Mr Bainimarama alone.

Three SODELPA members – Ro Teimumu Kepa, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua and Mr Rabuka – went to meet Mr Bainimarama. They presented to him views that he apologise.

Mr Bainimarama clearly informed them that he had already made attempts through the Speaker to do so.

Now, weeks after the incident and after Ratu Epeli had revealed in Parliament Mr Bainimarama’s intentions to apologise, Mr Rabuka came out of the woodwork trying to take credit for this.

He reached out to the media and gave them a filtered version of what had really transpired.

The decision to apologise was Mr Bainimarama’s own initiative. It happened before Mr Rabuka, Ro Teimumu and Ratu Suliano went to meet him.

So Mr Rabuka had no role to play in Mr Bainimarama’s decision.

Privileges Committee Drama:

On September 2, 2019, Mr Rabuka wrote to Ratu Epeli and gave reasons why SODELPA would not participate in the committee.

One of the five reasons was that the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had already spoken on the alleged incident and he should not be on the committee.

On the same day, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum wrote to the Speaker, recusing himself from the Committee and yesterday Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy took his place on the committee.

Yesterday, Mr Rabuka had a change of heart and decided he wanted to sit on the committee and turned up to the committee meeting.

Here, his presence faced strong resistance with Government MPs pointing out that Mr Rabuka had also made public comments on the alleged incident and that as Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had recused himself, Mr Rabuka too needed to follow suit.

While initially reluctant, Mr Rabuka relented and left the meeting.

He was replaced by Mosese Bulitavu.

That was yet another attempt by Mr Rabuka to claim credit for the reconciliation efforts.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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