Analysis

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) in suspension members and supporters need to stop blaming Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem for the Party’s suspension.
09 Jun 2020 11:54
Don’t Shoot The Messenger
Registrar of Political Parties and Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem on May 26, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) in suspension members and supporters need to stop blaming Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem for the Party’s suspension.

Since the Party was suspended for 60 days, there has been a lot of criticism aimed at the Registrar and it is unfortunate that instead of aiming their focus at solving their issues within the suspended political party, the factions are busy pointing fingers.

It is rather stupid of some academics to also join the confusion and also blame Mr Saneem for following the rule of law.

Two factions of the now suspended Party had held two meetings where they appointed/elected two sets of office bearers and two sets of registered officers of the Party.

What was the Registrar supposed to do? Was he supposed to hold six different versions of the suspended Party’s Constitution? One version said mediator Sitiveni Rabuka can remain leader while another version which was used to get Ro Teimumu Kepa to resign as Party leader said the mediator/leader/Opposition Leader (of the suspended Party) should vacate the office and a new person should take the charge.

For a Party (in suspension) whose manifesto had a lot to say about transparency and accountability, this Party (in suspension) has neither been transparent nor do they want to be held accountable.

Instead, they want to point a finger at the only person upholding the law in this entire fiasco.

The timeline:

  • On 23 April 2020, the High Court delivered a decision in Civil Action No. HBC 269 of 2019.The Registrar wrote to the Party Leader on 27 April 2020 to urge the Party to comply with the directives of the Court and at the same time the Register of Political Parties was amended in compliance with the Order of the Court.
  • On 27 April 2020, the Party was given 30 days to comply and at the same time furnish all the necessary documents as required by the law.
  • On 23 May 2020, there were 2 separate meetings of the SODELPA (in suspension) both claiming to be the legitimate Board Meetings. Both meeting organisers disputed the other meeting claiming lack of compliance with the Party Constitution.
  • On 25 May 2020, the first ‘Application to Substitute the Name of Registered Officer under section 11’ was filed with a List of Office Holders of the Suspended Party, which was disputed by Adi Litia Qionibaravi at 4:30pm the same day. Later, on 25 May 2020, Adi Litia Qionibaravi submitted another ‘Application to Substitute the Name of Registered Officer under section 11’ was filed with a list of Office Holders of the Suspended Party.
  • On 26 May 2020, having found that there are various irregularities in the documents submitted such as lack of exact office holders within the Management Board of the Party, there being different versions of the Constitution of the Party, failure by the Officials to comply with the rules of the Party as explained in the decision I gave that day, the Party had to be suspended to ensure that it remedied the deficiencies.
  • The Suspended Party is currently in the process of remedying the defects.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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