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Lynda Tabuya Tells Of SODELPA Row

The faction which includes Lynda Tabuya, Watisoni Nata, Tanya Waqanika and 15 others stormed out of the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) hall saying the motion which was supposed to take precedence at the board meeting was not even put up for discussion.
22 Dec 2021 12:30
Lynda Tabuya Tells Of SODELPA Row
SODELPA MP, Lynda Tabuya expresses her disappointment to media as she walked out of the management board meeting at the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) hall, in Suva on December 21, 2021 and SODELPA leader, Viliame Gavoka outside the Fijian Teachers Association hall, Suva on December 21, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

There seems to be no end in the rift that exists within the Social Democratic and Liberal Party (SODELPA) as a heated board meeting ended abruptly with one side calling it hijacked and the other unfortunate.

The faction which includes Lynda Tabuya, Watisoni Nata, Tanya Waqanika and 15 others stormed out of the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) hall saying the motion which was supposed to take precedence at the board meeting was not even put up for discussion.

Ms Tabuya, who was not in the calmest of moods, even said that she was beginning to lose faith in the executive members who were at the helm of the party.

 

She said this was why the confidence of the people was no longer with SODELPA. According to Ms Tabuya, 19 board members had voted to discuss the issue of general secretary Lenaitasi Duru’s contract and party leader Viliame Gavoka’s perjury allegation.

“It has been abruptly stopped by the chair of the meeting.”

“It had three items on it, the president of the party (Ratu Epenisa Cakobau) issued a directive to stop the meeting and also has stopped any motions on the floor to be voted upon,” she said.

“So therefore they have hijacked the party and board members in making decisions about following due process of the allegation against the party’s general secretary, as well as the party leader and the president.

 

“We still had motions going on the floor when the president directed someone to say closing prayers and he ended the meeting abruptly.”

Ms Tabuya further made claims that as party whip she knew that the $315,000 given for the operations of the Opposition office was not being utilised properly and the office was not properly staffed.

She claimed the party caucus had not seen the financials.

She also claimed that Mr Duru’s salary was increased from $27,000 to $35,000 and this was signed by party president, Ratu Epenisa.

 

Ms Tabuya said the powers of the vanua (chiefly status) should not be misused to protect those who “were wrong and had committed perjury”.

She said the vanua cannot be brought in to excuse bad behaviour.

Unfortunate says Gavoka SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka said action of the president was a wise move because the members who had voted on the motions wanted the management board to decide on the matter.

 

He said the president wanted an independent set of people which was identified as Ratu Ilatia Tuisese, Siromi Turaga and Laisa Vulakoro to investigate the claims and give their findings back to the board.

He said it was unfortunate that a faction within the party was not happy with the decision.

He had hoped that because it was Christmas season, the two factions would have been able to reconcile their differences.

 

“Some of those in the factions are difficult to convince,” he said.

“We have shown today that when we stand on something, we will go for it. If people decide to walk out, that is just too bad.”

Mr Gavoka said he was a big boy and was ready to amend the relationship between himself and Ms Tabuya and was willing to work with her.

Mr Gavoka also denied that the vanua card was used to play matters down in the meeting yesterday.

 

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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