Politics

SODELPA (In Suspension) Leadership In Limbo

At the conclusion of the meeting board members resolved to advertise the position of party leader, which Mr Rabuka said he would re-apply for
28 Jun 2020 12:09
SODELPA (In Suspension) Leadership In Limbo
Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) party leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

If anyone wants to remove me as Party leader, they should go through the party constitution.

This is what suspended Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) party leader Sitiveni Rabuka said yesterday when he was responding to discussions that had sprung up at the Special Management Board Meeting. He said this after he refused to attend the meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting board members resolved to advertise the position of party leader, which Mr Rabuka said he would re-apply for.

Attempts to remedy breaches between the two factions of the suspended SODELPA at its Special Management Board Meeting yesterday proved futile after Mr Rabuka refused to be part of the meeting.

The meeting that was held at the Grand Pacific Hotel aimed to address the issue around the appointment of the General Secretary of the suspended party and the lifting of its 60-day suspension.

Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Salote Radrodro and Mosese Bulitavu were some members of the Kshatriya Hall faction that sat with Mr Rabuka outside the meeting venue after his refusal to attend the meeting.

Why Rabuka refused to attend the meeting

According to Mr Rabuka, he chose not to attend the meeting after the President of the suspended party Vijay Singh disallowed the involvement of his caucus representatives, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Jese Saukuru and Mosese Bulitavu, to be part of the meeting.

“Why should I attend the meeting when my caucus representatives were not allowed into the meeting?” Mr Rabuka said.

“We sought legal opinion and we have seen that the constitution clearly states that the management board includes me and the three that had not been allowed in; there’s no point in me attending the meeting without them.”

However, before the meeting began yesterday, Tanya Waqanika, a member of the task force committee of the suspended party, which includes the two vice-presidents Ratu Jone Lesuma and Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, had approached Mr Rabuka outside of the meeting venue. They clarified the exclusion of the three caucus representative from the meeting and requested Mr Rabuka’s participation.

Suspended SODELPA member Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Suspended SODELPA member Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Mr Rabuka was informed by the delegation that the suspended party had been notified in an email by the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem that as long as the party was suspended, it did not have a caucus per se.

In clarifying the issue with Mr Rabuka outside the meeting venue, Ms Waqanika said the party was in suspension and there was no caucus thus the caucus representatives are not allowed in the meeting.

Ms Waqanika said Mr Rabuka had to understand that he was a part of the meeting because he was the party (in suspension) leader and not a parliamentary leader.

Mr Rabuka told Ms Waqanika that he is a bodiless figure without his caucus members in the meeting. He was adamant that he would not participate without his caucus members present.

Attempts and several requests by party (in suspension) vice president Ratu Epenisa Cakobau to Mr Rabuka were not accepted. Mr Rabuka and other members of his faction walked out of the Grand Pacific Hotel after these discussions.

The meeting carried on soon after as it had met the minimum number of board members. 19 members of the management board members attended the meeting yesterday, while 14 did not.

Emele Duituturaga voted in as Party(in suspension) General Secretary

Emele Duituturaga was unanimously voted by members of the board to the position of General Secretary. This was after the submission of Ms Duituturaga’s name on June 18, was not approved by the Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem.

Ms Duituturaga said the party was required to go through a recruitment process and her appointment was a result of that.

“My appointment this morning was a result of that nationally recognised practice and of course I am very grateful for the confidence of the Management Board for appointing me to be SODELPA’s permanent General Secretary,” Ms Duituturaga said.

Newly appointed Acting General Secretary of the suspended SODELPA party. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Newly appointed Acting General Secretary of the suspended SODELPA party. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

It is understood that Ms Duituturaga was shortlisted from the eight applicants that applied for the position.

Among those who had applied were Usaia Waqaitairewa and Pio Tabaiwalu.

The recruitment process and assessing of the applications were done by a company that the party in suspension had outsourced.

A 21 day notice will be issued for the suspended party’s next annual general meeting, which will be held in four months’

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

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