Analysis

Yesterday’s Events Indicate Any Chances of SODELPA Reconciliation Have Evaporated

SODELPA split reminiscent of 1977 breakup of NFP into Flower, Dove factions
24 May 2020 14:52
Yesterday’s Events Indicate Any Chances of SODELPA Reconciliation Have Evaporated
Members of SODELPA with acting president Vijay Singh seen on Zoom on screen at the Holiday Inn, Suva on May 23, 2020. Photo: Fonua Talei

Two venues, two groups and two sets of officials elected yesterday.

The events underscored a clear evidence that SODELPA is split right down the middle.

They are reminiscent of the 1977 breakup of the National Federation Party into the Flower and Dove factions.

While there are processes that need to be exhausted before the breakup is official, all the symptoms or tell-tale signs were there yesterday that showed it is inevitable and it’s only a matter of time.

The NFP split was based on a row over leadership and religious differences beteeen Hindus and Muslims.

The SODELPA split is based on multiple factors including provincialism, tribalism and governance issues.

Preliminary outcomes after yesterday’s meetings indicate that the Management Board meeting at the Holiday Inn in Suva was the legitimate one. It was chaired by acting president Vijay Singh via Zoom from Australia.

Twenty-one board members attended forming a quorum of 21. Among the sitting MPs who attended were Viliame Gavoka, Ro Teimumu Kepa, and Aseri Radrodro. It was conducted in a cordial atmosphere. Even media representatives felt welcomed and could talk to attendees outside.

But it was different at the Khartriya Hall meeting not far from the hotel.

Those present there were supporters of removed president Ro Filipe Tuisawau Tuisawau, removed Vice President Adi Litia Qionibaravi and removed General Secretary Usaia Waqatairewa. It came as no surprise that caretaker party leader Sitiveni Rabuka attended that meeting because they are his supporters too, many of whom are from the Northern bloc of Cakaudrove-Bua-Macuata.

He had obviously rejected Mr Singh’s request for him to support his executive decision about yesterday’s board meeting.

The split pitches the majority of Viti Levu members on one side and Notthern group with a sprinkle of Viti Levu support on the other side.

What Next

The Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem would study yesterday’s events and determine whether the meetings complied with the party constitution and the Political Parties Act.

If he recognises the Holiday Inn group, the other group could challenge it in court.

It could become a messy affair.

If both groups fail to meet all the requirements he could suspend the party. In the event of that happening it could affect the status of all SODELPA MPs. Could they still sit in Parliament?

What if the party breaks up into two groups like what happened to the NFP?

It could lead to bitter acrimony between the rival groups. It will include a battle to occupy the party office and use of existing assets and resources.

The events yesterday indicated that any chances of reconciliation had evaporated

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper