FijiFirst Voters To Suspended FijiFirst Leaders – ‘COMPLY’

During the 2022 General Election, the suspended FijiFirst secured the highest number of votes with 200,246- representing 42.55 per cent of the total votes cast.
08 Jun 2023 16:10
FijiFirst Voters To Suspended FijiFirst Leaders – ‘COMPLY’
FijiFirst headquarter Brown Street Toorak,. Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Supporters of the suspended FijiFirst party have rallied to express their concerns and call for their leaders to address compliance issues.

The call comes after the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) urged the now suspended party to meet the requirements, including submitting its audited reports by July 15.

Failure to comply could result in its de-registration, marking a significant setback since its establishment on March 31, 2014.

During the 2022 General Election, the suspended FijiFirst secured the highest number of votes with 200,246- representing 42.55 per cent of the total votes cast.

However, recent events have cast a shadow over the party’s reputation, leading to emotional reactions from some of its ardent supporters.

One such supporter, Tukai Lagonilakeba, a former principal consultant at Seeland Pacific (Fiji) Limited, expressed his frustration with the current situation.

Mr Lagonilakeba, who has been a strong supporter of the party for the past 16 years, highlighted the absence of leader Voreqe Bainimarama due to his suspension and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s departure from Parliament.

“We are lost and confused because Bainimarama (Voreqe) is suspended and Sayed-Khaiyum (Aiyaz) is no longer a parliamentarian,” he said.

He stressed the need for clarity and transparency regarding the ongoing court case involving the party’s leaders.

“The court case going on with them leaves us to a stance. We don’t know what is going on. Nobody seems to clear the air of what’s happening.”

He further observed the cohesion and communication demonstrated by the leaders of the coalition Government, which has left the suspended FijiFirst supporters feeling left behind.

“Now, we have seen the leaders of the coalition government, how they listen to each other even though they have started but we can see the change. They talk to people, they listen to Fijians,” Mr Lagonilakeba said.

Ratu Manoa Tuiwainikai, the Sau Ni Vanua of Qoibau, in Macuata echoed the concerns of other supporters.

Ratu Manoa suggested that if the party failed to comply with the requirements, their candidates should consider running as individual candidates.

He said it was important to respect the sacrifices made by the supporters who voted for them. He encouraged the suspended FijiFirst leaders to maintain their presence in Parliament.

“They have worked hard for their seat and they should keep ensuring our voices and that of the opposition is heard,” Ratu Manoa said.

Avisaki Baleibolatagane, a 27-year-old Suva resident from Lakeba, Lau, expressed deep emotional attachment to the party.

She appealed for the party to regain order and continue the legacy of the past 16 years.

“I am a big supporter and I have been there for the good days and the bad days,” Ms Baleibolatagane said.

Hem Lata, a 44-year-old mother of three from Nadi, emphasised the significance of the party being their voice in Parliament and wanted to see them return.

“We do not want to lose that vote. That’s the reason why we voted for them,” Ms Lata said.

Mary Banuve, a 24-year-old from Nakobo, Cakaudrove, urged the suspended FijiFirst leaders to consider the youth who elected them and remain steadfast in representing their interests.

“We certainly want progress, we want social development, we want political development, and this going back and forth does not help us at all,” Ms Banuve said.

Amidst the concerns and emotions expressed by party supporters, Abdul Zorhab of Lautoka said he trusted the due process of the law and pledged continued support to the suspended party and its leaders.

“I will continue to show support to the FijiFirst Party and its leaders,” Mr Zorhab said.

Realtor Ashley Krishna shared similar sentiments. She said the suspended party has the unwavering support of concerned citizens due to its significant contribution to the nation.

“FijiFirst in power or not, they have our support and will continue to have our support because what they have done for the nation is beyond measure,” Ms Krishna said.

With the budget announcement set for June 30, and Parliament to convene next week Monday, June 12, the supporters hope that the party will comply with the requirements, enabling its active participation in the Opposition.

Supporters urged their FijiFirst leaders to remember the people who elected them and work towards progress and development for the nation.


Story by: Waisea Nasokia- 

  • Compiled by: Waisea Nasokia, Mereleki Nai, Jone Salusalu, Ashna Kumar and Salote Qalubau

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