More SODELPA Drama

“There is a lot of goodwill within the party. Lots of people want to join SODELPA but the factions we have is an impediment. Let’s unite and move forward. Forget about the factions,” Mr Gavoka said.
29 Nov 2020 11:21
More SODELPA Drama
From left-SODELPA General Secretary Emele Duituturaga with newly appointed party leader Viliame Gavoka and Deputy Party leader Filimoni Vosarogo after the party annual general meeting at Novotel Convention Centre on November 28, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

SODELPA’s annual general meeting yesterday did not go without drama.

After what appeared to be a perfect start with the presentation of the tabua (whalestooth)  to outgoing party leader Sitiveni Rabuka to thank him for his services,  he had an alleged exchange with president Ratu Epenisa Cakobau.

This was over the selection process of the party leader and deputy.

Some of those present claimed that Mr Rabuka walked out of the meeting with some of his supporters.

But Mr Rabuka denied that he had walked out. He said there was no exchange between him and Ratu Epenisa .

He said he left after he presented his report to take the tabua to his chief, the Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. Ratu Naiqama did not attend the AGM.

Mr Rabuka said Ratu Naiqama was attending a family birthday celebrations and he could not present the tabua to him.

On whether he would voluntarily make way for new party leader Viliame Gavoka to replace him as Opposition Leader, Mr Rabuka said he “is open to all options” and could give up his post depending on the advice of his caucus.

He also distanced himself from talks of a petition circulating online signed by party members to form a new party.

Mr Rabuka said, “I don’t want to be involved in that. My chief is still in SODELPA and the new deputy leader is a close relative of mine so I will stay with the party.”

Mr Gavoka said he was ready to become Opposition Leader if the opportunity presented itself.

However, he said this would only be possible once the proposition went through the relevant procedure in caucus.

Mr Gavoka said the party needed heavy hitters like Mr Rabuka.

“Mr Rabuka is an icon, he is a giant in Fiji politics and he is going to be with us in our march to victory in 2022,” he said.

Addressing the AGM yesterday, Mr Gavoka pleaded with members to stop forming factions and focus on the issues at hand.

He said three issues that he wanted to address were:

The Economic Enhancement of the iTaukei people

Free education for all up to university and the cancellation of the Tertiary Education and Loans Scheme.

Improvement of the standard of living

“There is a lot of goodwill within the party. Lots of people want to join SODELPA but the factions we have is an impediment. Let’s unite and move forward. Forget about the factions,” Mr Gavoka said.

He said SODELPA had a strong network of constituencies so the party would not have any national candidates in the next election.

Instead, their constituency representatives will field their own votes from their own constituencies.

New deputy party leader Filimoni Vosarogo confirmed that he would be contesting the 2022 elections alongside Mr Gavoka. Although there are a lot of challenges to be addressed they were resolute that they would be victorious come 2022.

“We believe in our ability to pull the strings of this party together and we have 24 months to work on that and we saw today the support of the 28 constituencies who have committed their support,” Mr Vosarogo said.

General secretary Emele Duituturaga declined to disclose the votes at the Management Board meeting on Friday and clarified that there was no requirement to submit the report of the interview panel to the board.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua




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