Analysis | Politics

Adi Litia Row Another Major Blow To Peace Bid

Adi Litia has accused the committee of not following the disciplinary process laid out in the party’s constitution regarding the conduct of members. She claimed that she was not given natural justice by acting president Vijay Singh, who chaired the committee meeting via Zoom from Australia. She said the committee “purportedly decided to suspend me.
15 May 2020 14:08
Adi Litia Row Another Major Blow To Peace Bid
Opposition Members of Parliament Lynda Tabuya (left) and Adi Litia Qionibaravi outside Parliament on April 3, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Analysis:

The controversy over Adi Litia Qionibaravi highlights the bitter differences that exist over SODELPA’s governance.

The dispute whether she has been suspended as general secretary or not by the Working Committee is part of this running saga.

The committee decided on Wednesday to suspend her pending investigations into complaints on governance issues.

Adi Litia has accused the committee of not following the disciplinary process laid out in the party’s constitution regarding the conduct of members. She claimed that she was not given natural justice by acting president Vijay Singh, who chaired the committee meeting via Zoom from Australia. She said the committee “purportedly decided to suspend me.

But the general secretary role is a paid position and based on a written contract.

She claimed she was neither informed about the substance of the complaint nor given the opportunity to respond to the complaint before the decision was made.

Adi Litia should have an employment contract. It spells out her conditions of work, including procedures that must be followed in disciplinary proceedings.

Her conduct in the paid position, not her membership, is under scrutiny.

But that aside, this latest row shows the party is teetering at the top and the membership is asking what is happening.

Adi Litia will get her suspension letter.

This will allow the committee to investigate all the complaints about governance.

The committee will submit its decision to the Management Board for ratification. No doubt, Adi Litia will have the opportunity to defend herself before the board, the party’s governing body.

Acting president Vijay Singh will lead from Australia as he did with the Working Committee via Zoom.

He faces a difficult task keeping the party on an even keel.

The Management Board has 44 members who will decide the future direction of the party. Originally, there used to be only nine members.

The change was made after the 2014 General Election. While it gave a wider representation of the constituencies, it created logistical and administrative issues like creating a quorum and getting things done.

That led to the setting up of the Working Committee. As its name says, it does work for the board. The five-member committee with the president sitting as chair is a lot easier to deal with a 44-member board.

Many issues are sort out at the committee level before they are referred to the board for ratification.

Since the committee’s creation, there hasn’t been an incident when the committee’s decisions have been knocked back.

In this case, it is unlikely to happen because if it does it tantamount to a lack of confidence in the committee.

That will set a precedent and negatively impact the work of the committee.

There was a split vote in the committee on Wednesday and the same thing is expected in the board.

It represents the serious internal division that is making it tougher for caretaker party leader Sitiveni Rabuka to unite the warring factions.

Time is running out for the party to fill the vacant positions created. It has until May 27 to do it as directed by the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem.

Adi Litia is expected to challenge her suspension in the board. She has her support there too, particularly from the Cakaudrove-Bua-Macuata bloc.

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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