Analysis | Politics

SODELPA Crisis Calls For Decisive Leadership To Steer Troubled Ship In The Right Direction

It’s a make or break time for a party that has been struggling since its inception with its leadership.
19 May 2020 12:54
SODELPA Crisis Calls For Decisive Leadership To Steer Troubled Ship In The Right Direction
SODELPA MP and general secretary, Adi Litia Qionibaravi.

Analysis:

Whether it’s Vijay Singh or Sitiveni Rabuka at the helm, SODELPA members are calling for decisive leadership at various forums.

It’s a make or break time for a party that has been struggling since its inception with its leadership.

The latest row between Adi Litia Qionibaravi and the Working Committee is symptomatic of the malaise that has dogged the party.

Members want acting president Mr Singh to do the right thing and follow the provisions of the party constitution.

They also expect caretaker party leader Sitiveni Rabuka to stop playing politics and do what is needed to right the sinking SODELPA ship.

They are also aware that he wants to be party leader again to lead them into the 2022 General Election.

To be able to do that he must not allow himself to be influenced by factionalism.

It is general knowledge that his power base is the Cakaudrove-Bua-Macuata bloc. It is also public knowledge that the bloc wields strong influence in the party.

It is at the centre of the internal power struggle that has haunted the party from day one.

The Working Committee meeting on Wednesday and the subsequent events including the media statement by Mr Rabuka highlighted the depth of division in the party.

The committee, by majority decision, decided that Adi Litia should be suspended to allow for unfettered investigations into complaints against her on governance issues.

Mr Singh, although did not put his casting vote, went along with the decision.

No media statement was released. This was done the following day. In the absence of an explanation of why it took that long, it can only be deduced that there were a lot of discussions behind the scene before the statement was put out.

Adi Litia, in the meantime, defended herself, saying she was not afforded natural justice and was not given the opportunity to respond to allegations against her. She also claimed that the committee’s decision had contravened the disciplinary procedures set out in the party constitution.

She also claimed that the Management Board was the only authority that could take the action that the committee had decided.

When the statement came out, it confirmed that the committee had made a resolution that she be suspended pending investigations. That it would recommend it to the board. In the meantime, Adi Litia would continue as general secretary until the next board meeting.

Now, this is a weird situation. No doubt, Adi Litia would not feel good continuing when she knows she is not wanted.

But she would go along and expect to defend herself at the board meeting to clear her name.

While this is happening, it is understood that inquiries have been made with other political parties for one group to defect in the event of the party disintegrating.

It is understood discussions are at a preliminary stage. It is a lot easier to join another party with a similar agenda than setting up a new breakaway party altogether that among logistical requirements would need to obtain 5000 signatures.

In light of this, there is a growing chorus of members demanding strong leadership.

They have questioned whether Mr Rabuka is the right person to show this decisive leadership and prepare the party for the 2022 election.

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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