Politics

SODELPA was “too loud” on indigenous issues

The newly appointed leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Sitiveni Rabuka conducted a Fijian traditional ceremony “Matanigasau” to seek for forgiveness for the coup he carried out in 1987, soon after his election last week. Mr Rabuka told Newswire he was trying to present the whale’s tooth to Ro Teimumu Kepa. However, Ro […]

Peni Shute

July 1, 2016 12:55 pm

The newly appointed leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Sitiveni Rabuka conducted a Fijian traditional ceremony “Matanigasau” to seek for forgiveness for the coup he carried out in 1987, soon after his election last week.

Mr Rabuka told Newswire he was trying to present the whale’s tooth to Ro Teimumu Kepa. However, Ro Teimumu did not accept the whale’s tooth and pointed out party President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu to receive it.

Sitiveni Rabuka with the tabua (whales tooth) speaking during the traditional Fijian process called 'matanigasau' at the SODELPA AGM last month. (Luke Nacei/Newswire)
Sitiveni Rabuka with the tabua (whales tooth) speaking during the traditional Fijian process called ‘matanigasau’ at the SODELPA AGM last month. (Luke Nacei/Newswire).

Mr Rabuka said he saw what happened, and it defeated the purpose of the ‘matanigasau’.

RABUKA: “I intended for it go to the previous leader but because of the way the party is structured, the head of the party will receive it and I was hoping the Roko Tui Dreketi’s herald would acknowledge it or be the second receiver but that did not happen and that defeated the purpose of my presentation.”

Mr Rabuka said despite what had happened it was still useful because whoever received it, received it on behalf of the whole group.

Multiracialism

Mr Rabuka said SODELPA was “too loud” on indigenous issues and forgot to focus on multiracialism.

Former Army Commander and Prime Minister of Fiji Major General (retired) Sitiveni Rabuka. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)
Former Army Commander and Prime Minister of Fiji Major General (retired) Sitiveni Rabuka. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)

RABUKA: “They could have done that easily by highlighting the fact that what was good for one group will be good for the nation and for everybody, they should have been focusing on that. The platform for the people for the elections is already there, all that I have to do is to change the profiling and continue to do what the party was set up for and pushing and make sure that we do not look to antagonizing to anybody or group in particular. We want to be all-inclusive”

The New Leader

When questioned on how he was different from Ro Teimumu Kepa, Rabuka said.

RABUKA: “Well I don’t not have her customary role, I’m a commoner Fijian and I am comfortable with all levels of society and the i-taukei society and just as comfortable will all other races.”

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka and the Minister for Defence Hon. Timoci Natuva at the US Embassy yesterday. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka and the Minister for Defence Hon. Timoci Natuva at the US Embassy yesterday. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)

Mr Rabuka stated that he accepted the role as party leader because he was available.

RABUKA: “I was asked to do it and I am available. I remember the founder of my church John Wesley said “Go do all the good you can, for all the people you can and in all the places you can and all the times you can and in all the way you can, for as long as you ever can.” which means that as long as you are alive keep doing good.”

When asked if he was ready to face Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in the 2018 General Elections.

RABUKA: “Yes, well I have to unless he comes and asks for a coalition.”

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad and SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)
National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad and SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka. (Nacanieli Tuilevuka/Newswire)

Mr Rabuka said he looks forward to working with any political party.

RABUKA: “I look forward to working with any party, we have a common vision for Fiji that the well-being, the welfare and the progress of the people of Fiji.”

Selection Panel

Mr Rabuka stated that he thought that his participation in the leadership selection was going to be defeated.

RABUKA: “It was a rigorous interview process, in fact, after the interview, I told them that, look you are not looking for the best person who scores out of this interview, you are looking for the best person to lead the party. And the best person you see here may not be the best person for the party but they scored me highly or the highest.”

Mr Rabuka said that the questions during the interview were about the nation, the party and where he would take the party.

RABUKA: “That was an issue because the party had already planned its own path and anybody coming must go along with that, and I agree with the paths they had planned but they had not played that profile. The party is for multi-racialism but the people believe they were ultra ethnic-Fiji nationalists so they did not project the right image and that is one of the things I would like to change.”

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