Analysis | Politics

Rabuka Faction Not Ready To Give Up

His walkout was very similar to what Ratu Naiqama had faced during the first Management Board meeting when he also walked out after a prior handshake deal was not honoured.
29 Jun 2020 11:44
Rabuka Faction Not Ready To Give Up
Divided members of suspended SODELPA outside the Special Management Board Meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel on June 27, 2020 . Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Analysis:

The Sitiveni Rabuka-led faction of the suspended Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Despite facing two humiliating Management Board meetings, the faction regrouped at Mr Rabuka’s Namadi Heights residence to strategise what their next move would be.

Mr Rabuka told the Fiji Sun that there was no meeting. However, those present told a different story. It is believed Mr Rabuka presented a tabua to Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and briefed the Tui Cakau why he and his faction left the meeting venue at the Grand Pacific Hotel. He also told Ratu Naiqama of his exchange with Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and lawyer Tanya Waqanika.

His walkout was very similar to what Ratu Naiqama had faced during the first Management Board meeting when he also walked out after a prior handshake deal was not honoured.

It is believed that Ro Teimumu Kepa and Ratu Epenisa had met with Ratu Naiqama before the first management board meeting where she proposed that the Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata group endorse Ratu Epenisa’s bid for acting vice-presidency and in return Ratu Naiqama will be endorsed by the other side. We all know this did not happen and Ratu Naiqama was humiliated, not once but twice. Once when his name was nominated for the acting president position where his nomination was out-voted and second time when he was nominated for acting vice-president position.

What the Rabuka-faction also has issues with is why during the first round of voting where Ratu Naiqama received more votes compared to Ratu Jone Lesuma, he was not endorsed but a second round of voting took place where Ratu Jone’s nomination received more votes.

The second round of voting was endorsed and Ratu Jone was given the acting VP position within the suspended party.

Moving back to Namadi Heights. A lot of interesting conversations took place. There were also discussions about traditionally approaching Unity Fiji’s Savenaca Narube for the Rabuka-faction to join this party.

It was also decided that at the next Management Board meeting, caucus reps would fight to take seat at the Management Board and they will not give up till Police intervene.

What next?

Prior to the second Management Board meeting, Mr Rabuka had not openly showed his hand and where his loyalty lies. His decision to stage a walk-out was a clear signal that he is not with the Holiday Inn side and that he was leading the Kshatriya Hall faction.

Can the Rabuka-led faction join Unity Fiji? Not without losing their seats in Parliament and that is one thing they are not willing to do at any cost.

Their best chance would have been to get the suspended party deregistered and then show their voters that they are still the voice of their voters by out-doing the Holiday Inn faction in Parliament.

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