Analysis | Politics

Where Does Rabuka’s Loyalty Lie?

That has shown SODELPA where Mr Rabuka’s loyalty lie - to himself? To his Cakaudrove, Bua, Macuata bloc? To his Tui Cakau? Was his intention to come across as a mediator just a farce?
04 Jul 2020 16:21
Where Does Rabuka’s Loyalty Lie?
L-R: Viliame Gavoka, Filimoni Vosarogo, Lynda Tabuya, Aseri Radrodro, Anare Jale


There has been considerable chatter on social media platforms about the appointment of Emele Duituturaga as Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) general secretary.

First, there was the leaked email, which claimed that applicant, Pio Tabaiwalu, was a better candidate and that he came out top on the rating done by recruitment agency Maxumise. Then, came the side-line commentary by supporters of the Kshatriya Hall faction.

It is true that Mr Tabaiwalu was the preferred candidate of Maxumise.

However, it is also true that every organisation, which uses a recruitment agency, does not necessarily go with the person recommended by the recruitment agency.

While SODELPA has many faults, the appointment of Ms Duituituraga is not one of it. She is what the party felt they needed at this point in time.

What the party should really be concerned about is how Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka had already set the platform to launch a new political party in the event SODELPA had been deregistered. That has been the biggest “flip-flop” drama seen in Fiji’s recent political history.

That has shown SODELPA where Mr Rabuka’s loyalty lie – to himself? To his Cakaudrove, Bua, Macuata bloc? To his Tui Cakau? Was his intention to come across as a mediator just a farce?

Had Mr Rabuka been sincere about SODELPA, he would have gracefully stepped aside as Ro Teimumu Kepa did after the loss in the 2014 General Election.

Mr Rabuka has time and again shown that he is not the decisive leader his supporters make him out to be. He has continued to do what suits his agenda.

Mr Rabuka waited on the sidelines, waiting and pushing for the person of his choice for the position of General Secretary. This is what Registrar of Political Party, Mohammed Saneem, revealed. What was the need for this? While the party’s members such as Tanya Waqanika worked to get the Party unsuspended, why would Mr Rabuka go to Mr Saneem to have his candidate chosen? Mr Rabuka has denied this, but I and many among the rank and file of SODELPA would believe Mr Saneem over Mr Rabuka.

Mr Rabuka’s supporters on social media platforms had openly called for SODELPA to be deregistered. There is a group, which had gone ahead to form a fundraising group for the new party. Definitely a lot of thought was given to how this would be executed.

The only spanner in the works was that the Holiday Inn faction was determined to get the party unsuspended.

While they made some mistakes, they were quick to rectify it and their perseverance paid off.

What next?

A new leader for SODELPA is the next big question. Our reading of how things unfolded in recent weeks reveal some top contenders for the main post. We think that:

Lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo, Members of Parliament Aseri Radrodro, Lynda Tabuya, Viliame Gavoka and Anare Jale may emerge as top contenders in the coming months. Will Ratu Epenisa Cakobau play a crucial role in determining who the leader will be? Will Mr Rabuka take this lying down? Will the talks of the new party start once again when he is not picked to lead SODELPA for the second time around? The platform has been set by his people. They only await the green light from his side.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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