Politics

The Tale Of Two Parties

The only similarity between the two political parties is just that - two political parties. That is where the similarity ends. Since SODELPA was formed, it was hit by one scandal after another.
11 May 2020 12:24
The Tale Of Two Parties
SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Analysis:

FijiFirst and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) went head to head in two general elections, 2014 and 2018.

The only similarity between the two political parties is just that – two political parties. That is where the similarity ends. Since SODELPA was formed, it was hit by one scandal after another.

Whether it was the Gaunavinaka Report, or removing Ro Teimumu Kepa from leadership, or questioning Mick Beddoes’ role within the Party or now the court cases and shambles it has found itself in.

FijiFirst on the other hand, led by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and ably assisted by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has grown its unity being one never seen before in any political party in the country.

What sets FijiFirst apart from SODELPA and why has this Party been so successful? It’s leadership. While SODELPA spent considerable time fighting over who will lead the Opposition Party, FijiFirst has been very clear who is the leader.

Where SODELPA has been fighting over who handles the party coffers, FijiFirst Party and Government have been clear on how funds would be used and who the signatories are.

Where SODELPA has had factions within the party from day one, FijiFirst has done well in keeping cliques out. And FijiFirst should maintain this unity and learn from SODELPA what disunity and having cliques and factions do to a party.

Voreqe Bainimarama has been a firm leader with clear principles- race should not be a consideration for anything, be it education, scholarships, or employment.

Sitiveni Rabuka, on the other hand, led a coup for the supremacy of one race and SODELPA still is influenced by the former Conservative Alliance-Matanitu Vanua Party, the right-wing party whose founding principles were everything to do with race.

Mr Bainimarama has been out and about, visiting areas hit by TC Harold, Mr Rabuka is lamenting over how SODELPA does not have money for the 2022 campaign.

While Mr Bainimarama has been out touring and bringing help to those Fijians affected, his number two, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has been holding teleconferences with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and is setting the course for Fiji’s recovery from COVID-19 and TC Harold.

Who is number two in SODELPA? That is for another day. It does not seem like this is the last time SODELPA will have serious issues within the party.

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