Politics

Suspended MP Apologises To Voters And Supporters For ‘Disservice’

For suspended party MP Niko Nawaikula, the 60-days suspension indicated they had governance, transparency and accountability issues to deal with.
29 May 2020 11:43
Suspended MP Apologises To Voters And Supporters For ‘Disservice’
Suspended SODELPA Opposition Member of Parliament and Whip Lynda Tabuya outside Suva Court on May 28, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Lynda Tabuya yesterday apologised to supporters and voters of suspended SODELPA.

The suspended Opposition Whip and popular member of the suspended party said she was sorry and ashamed for letting them down.

She said the suspension of the party and its Members of Parliament was their fault and a “disservice” to Fijians.

She is the first from the suspended party to publicly apologise and it came as no surprise. She had worked so hard in the 2018 elections to lift the public profile of suspended SODELPA. In that election, the suspended party won 181,072 votes; up from 139,857 in 2014.

In her debut for the suspended party, Ms Tabuya won 8795, the second-highest number of votes in the suspended party. She broke new grounds in the labour market and in youth and women advocacy.

She said their voters relied on them to be their voice in Parliament and she was ashamed of what had happened.

The party was suspended for 60 days on Tuesday.

The Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, found that they failed to comply with a High Court judgment delivered on April 23, 2020. The suspended party failed to appoint people to fill the vacant positions.

In addition, the Registrar found that there were six versions of the SODELPA (in suspension) constitution.

The SODELPA MP’s were consequently suspended from Parliament and told to vacate the Opposition Chambers.

For suspended party MP Niko Nawaikula, the 60-days suspension indicated they had governance, transparency and accountability issues to deal with.

“We have now reached the bottom, and there is only one way to go and that is up and united. And I’m praying for that,” he said.

“In a way, the announcement is a catalyst for the two factions to come together. It will force them to get a resolution.”

Whether a new party may emerge from the split, Mr Nawaikula said this was the last thing on his mind.

“I don’t recommend it because the last election has taught us that having many parties running for government is not advantageous,” he said.

Ms Tabuya is requesting their voters to “bear with us as we go through this period of darkness for the party.”

She is confident that those tasked with remedying the breaches will do so within the law and within the rules of the Registrar to get the party back on track.

“I am hopeful that the party will emerge from this stronger and we will comply with the law. I am grateful to the Registrar for giving the party the opportunity to remedy itself and do all that we can to comply,” she said.

“I ask our supporters here and abroad, I understand it’s disappointing but please do have hope. We will come out of this stronger.”

She said talanoa, negotiation and compromise were vital.

She also received confirmation from Mr Saneem that her election as President of the SODELPA (in suspension) Nasinu Constituency was invalid as a result of the court judgment.

The suspended party’s Working Committee met yesterday to discuss the path of remedying the breaches.

The meeting was chaired by vice president Vijay Singh via Zoom.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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