Analysis | Politics

Still A Lot Of Drama As Suspended SODELPA Tries To Sort Things Out

The only glitch which may be a result of bad legal advice was the appointment and subsequent rejection of Emele Duituturaga as the general secretary. Whose legal opinion was it?
20 Jun 2020 12:53
Still A Lot Of Drama As Suspended SODELPA Tries To Sort Things Out
An emotional Adi Litia Qionibaravi (left), with Tanya Waqanika following the suspended SODELPA Management Board meeting at the Holiday Inn Suva on June 18, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar


Yesterday we brought to you the first part of what happened behind closed doors at the suspended Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) management board meeting.

Tears were shed, temperatures rose, yelling ensured. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu gathered his team and left the venue, Holiday Inn, Suva soon after his humiliating defeat. It was a small victory for the Holiday Inn faction, they managed to change the old guards and placed their own people on the Board. Vijay Singh was elected the acting President and he runs the suspended Party right now.

The glitch

The only glitch which may be a result of bad legal advice was the appointment and subsequent rejection of Emele Duituturaga as the general secretary. Whose legal opinion was it?

Many are asking this question. In fact, lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo also took to social media asking the same question.

But, we move on from that and bring to you details of what happened after the lunch break on Thursday.

Ratu Naiqama, Ro Filipe Tuisawau and their handful of supporters left the venue. Ratu Naiqama and Pita Wise whose influence on the suspended Party was always a bone of contention with the Holiday Inn faction were seen around a tanoa of yaqona at a Selbourne Street eatery. Tense discussions took place, a few choice words were said about the Holiday Inn faction but the outright rejection was clearly seen on the face of the high chief.

Money from USA Chapter

Back at the meeting venue, focus turned to the money given by SODELPA’s (still in suspension) United States of America Chapter. Those present told us how Adi Litia Qionibaravi became rather hysterical, shed tears, raised her voice which could be heard outside the meeting room and even broke a glass in her frustration.

A statement was read out where the USA Chapter raised issues about the manner in which funds had been used in 2018 and demanded that an independent investigation be carried out and that a report be tabled to the Management Board with their findings.

Adi Litia sprang into action here and created a huge commotion after the statement was tabled. Her frustration level became so high that she left the meeting. She took some time to compose herself and marched right back into the meeting and accused the management board of not listening to her submissions. The elephant in the room grew bigger at this stage and the tension could be cut with a well-sharpened knife. Adi Litia was not backing down but the Holiday Inn faction had its way. The Management Board resolved that an investigation be carried out as per the USA Chapter’s financial report. What can of worms will this investigation open? Time will tell.

Legal actions and challenges

Of course, MP Sitiveni Rabuka had to say something to get the attention back to him. He started by telling the Board how he had tried to stop any legal action.

Outside the room, Tanya Waqanika said if the faction was genuine than the appeal against the judgment should be withdrawn. To this, Watisoni Nata who was instrumental in leading the legal challenge in the first place said the views of Ms Waqanika were her own. Businesswoman Mere Samisoni weighed in and said the forum needed to tread carefully.

Inside the room, there were some attempts to kiss and make up at this stage, but that did not happen. A motion was moved to advertise the General Secretary position seven days after the Management Board meeting was moved and passed.

Vijay Singh took matters back in his hand and thanked Ms Waqanika for her ‘sacrifices’. He did not elaborate on this, but heaped praises on the lawyer for her guidance. It was decided that the working committee convene a meeting seven days after the board meeting to deliberate on the appointment of the Human Resources Committee, the Finance Committee and the Fundraising Committee.

After this, the team went down to get the suspension lifted and we all know that did not go as planned.

Who will be in the running for the general secretary position?

Will Mick Beddoes want to make a comeback?

Will Pio Tabaiwalu throw in his hat? What will Adi Litia do?

Is Ms Duituturaga the best person for the job? Time will tell.


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