Analysis

Tabaiwalu’s Words Will Reverberate In SODELPA’s Corridors of Power Leading Up To November’s AGM

Fiji has lost a champion of democratic socialism with the untimely death of Pio Tabaiwalu. He believed in basic freedoms and the rights of people to decide their own destiny
22 Oct 2020 10:27
Tabaiwalu’s Words Will Reverberate In SODELPA’s Corridors of Power Leading Up To November’s AGM
The late Pio Tabaiwalu. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fiji has lost a champion of democratic socialism with the untimely death of Pio Tabaiwalu.

He believed in basic freedoms and the rights of people to decide their own destiny plus an equitable distribution of services and resources.

He was a distinguished intellectual thinker who worked for the ordinary people based on sound economic policies.

Mr Tabaiwalu had so much to offer the country at 60 years old because of his qualifications and wide experience in public service, trade and commerce.

He was self employed and operated a successful business and a consultancy for a number of organisations locally and internationally.

But he was not adequately recognised for his contributions nor did he seek it.

He was a humble, quiet and hardworking person who focussed on getting things done. Mr Tabaiwalu was one of the five candidates vying for SODELPA party leader which will be decided next month.

2

His death is a major loss for the party which he helped establish and became its first general secretary. He was asked by the late Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and others to craft the party’s ideology which was his personal vision.

He believed it embraced many of the positive aspects of our traditional hierarchial system and the advent of the basic rights and freedoms of individuals.

He drew inspiration from political parties that shared these core beliefs such as the Liberal Party of Australia, Britain’s Labour Party and Tony Blair’s Third Way and those that espouse democratic socialism and social liberalism.

Democratic socialism as a political ideology enhances freedom, social justice and solidarity through state intervention where necessary to produce a more equitable society through the fair distribution of services and resources for the benefit of all Fijians. It encourages active and meaningful participation of society in espousing, transparency, good governance and accountability.

The participation of vulnerable members of society such as the poor and the disadvantaged and the empowerment of women and youths is especially encouraged and targeted.

All these values and principles were reflected in his responses to Fiji Sun questions on various topics that were sent to the five candidates in the party leader contest. He responded to eight topics and showed his qualities as a prospective leader with his depth of knowledge and experience. He had been forthright in his views on how improve SODELPA.

Failure of leadership

He said many of the grievances that had divided the party “have been the failure of leadership.

“Leaders from the president, vice presidents to the party leader must make fair and objective decisions based on our Constitution. They should not be swayed based on their Vanua allegiance, personal connections or political agenda. Party members look up to our leaders to be firm, fair and decisive.

“No matter how well you revise the party constitution, if you have unprincipled, dishonest leadership who are there for their self interests and willing to bend the constitution to achieve their objectives there will always be divisiveness.”

2-1

He said that transparency, accountability and good governance and the rule of law should be the guiding principles of the party and they should become the ethos of the party. Anyone who breaches these principles should not be in the party.

That was one of his parting shots for the party reeling from his death – words that would reverberate in the party’s corridors of power in the coming weeks leading to the annual general meeting, adoption of an amended constitution and the selection of a new party leader next month.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



5SQRS Clearance


Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper