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Sodelpa Crisis: Feud Gets Fuelled

This was after members of the So­cial Democratic Liberal Party (SO­DELPA) were once again split into two different factions, with one led by party leader Viliame Gavoka and the other with members who met in Nausori Village a week earlier.
21 Nov 2021 12:31
Sodelpa Crisis: Feud Gets Fuelled
Present at the SODELPA meeting at Southern Cross Hotel were SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka, Semesa Karavaki (top left inset photo) and Lenaitasi Duru (top right inset photo). Photos: Ronald Kumar Present at the SODELPA meeting at the Highway Kava Bar were Watisoni Nata (bottome left), Lynda Tabuya (bottome right), Isikeli Komaisavai (top left inset photo) and Opposition Leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu (top right inset photo). Photos: Ronald Kumar

The Registrar of Political Par­ties, Mohammed Saneem, says he will take directions from the court and the two feuding groups have to sort out their differ­ences and seek help.

This was after members of the So­cial Democratic Liberal Party (SO­DELPA) were once again split into two different factions, with one led by party leader Viliame Gavoka and the other with members who met in Nausori Village a week earlier.

All attention was on the meeting at Southern Cross Hotel, with many expecting a showdown between Mr Gavoka and those opposing him.

The meeting at Southern Cross started around 9am Friday with Mr Gavoka, party general secretary Lenaitasi Duru, Semesa Karavaki and later joined by Aseri Radrodro, to form the 21 members who were present there.

The so called management board meeting was chaired virtually by party president Ratu Epenisa Ca­kobau.

His vaccination status meant he could not enter the hotel premises as only fully vaccinated patrons were allowed into the hotel.

It was in the morning when Mr Gavoka greeted the media with a statement signed by Ratu Epenisa.

According to the statement, mat­ters raised by party members against Mr Gavoka and Mr Duru were under Police investigation and no action would be taken until its outcome.

The statement said SODELPA needed all hands on board to pre­pare for the 2022 General Election and for members to work together and put their differences aside.

And in doing so, stop all calls for Mr Gavoka and Mr Duru to step down.

Mr Karavaki, who arrived around 10am, said he came to give legal ad­vice and hinted at a possible return as a candidate for 2022.

The meeting at Highway Kava Bar

SODELPA members at a Kava shop in Makoi on November 19, 2021.

SODELPA members at a Kava shop in Makoi on November 19, 2021.

 

While Mr Gavoka and his faction met at the Southern Cross Hotel, other mem­bers met at the Highway Kava Bar in Makoi, Nasinu.

Notable attendees were Lynda Tabuya, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Watisoni Nata, Tanya Waqanika, Bani Kawale and Isikeli Komaisa­vai.

And with them members of the women’s fo­rum and executives of the youth wing.

This was a more relaxed meet, with kava flow­ing and members being treated to lunch. This faction gave a statement of their own.

 

SODELPA member, Tanya Waqanika outside meeting venue at a Kava shop in Makoi on November 19, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

SODELPA member, Tanya Waqanika outside meeting venue at a Kava shop in Makoi on November 19, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

 

This statement said party vice president George Shiu Raj and 22 other board members did not attend a meeting called by Mr Duru be­cause his appointment as general secretary was terminated last week at the board meeting held in Nausori on Friday November 12.

The statement said the 23 members lodged an application with the Registrar of Political Par­ties to change the party’s general secretary and registered officer as recorded on the Political Party Register at the Elections Office.

The statement said they questioned the so-called quorum which was claimed by Mr Duru because 23 of the 43 were said to be present at the Highway Kava Bar.

“It is a symptom of poor governance when the party leadership decides unilaterally and in breach of the party rules, that the constitu­tion’s disciplinary provisions will not be ap­plied on the party leader and GS,” they said.

The statement said both had allegedly falsi­fied documents which became affidavits in two court cases.

Another statement

By the end of the afternoon, the faction at the Southern Cross Hotel released yet another statement saying disciplinary actions would follow those who did not follow resolutions from April 2020.

Also announced in the statement was the ap­proval for the requirements of the Candidate Selection Committee.

The statement said Aseri Radrodro was ap­pointed party treasurer.

Registrar’s reaction

Mr Saneem said he had received applications and notifications from both sides of the party.

He said he would advise the party members to look for resolve either through arbitration or through the court.

He said he would take his lead from the court and not interfere with the party’s internal af­fairs.



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