Analysis: Old wounds re­open in SODELPA camp

Prasad-Radro­dro con­flict causes ten­sion

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - by Ne­mani De­laibatiki ne­mani.de­laibatiki@fi­jisun.com.fj

Just what SODELPA re­form­ers did not want to hap­pen has ex­ploded into the open. The fall­out from the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee in­volv­ing for­mer chair­man and Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party MP Bi­man Prasad and SODELPA MP Aseri Radro­dro has re­opened old wounds. Now, the SODELPA’s old guard who have been shifted to one side as the re­form­ers moved in, are back­ing Mr Prasad and at­tack­ing Mr Radro­dro. Some have gone to the ex­tent of call­ing for his ex­pul­sion from the party. At­tempts by SODELPA pres­i­dent, sus­pended MP Ratu Naiqama Lal­a­bal­avu, to calm things down, have fallen on deaf ears. There are de­mands for Ratu Naiqama to con­vene a man­age­ment board meet­ing. But that won’t hap­pen un­til the par­lia­men­tary cau­cus has met. Op­po­si­tion Leader Ro Tei­mumu Kepa is still in the United States. That meet­ing will wait un­til she re­turns. Mr Radro­dro’s al­lies are ask­ing why the old guard are sid­ing with Mr Prasad who is not a SODELPA mem­ber. He em­bar­rassed Mr Radro­dro pub­licly by ask­ing him whether he complained to At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum about his per­for­mance as chair­man dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Suva. Mr Radro­dro had gone to at­tend the press con­fer­ence on the in­struc­tion of Ro Tei­mumu. He was in the Op­po­si­tion Of­fice when Lau­fitu Malani handed the phone to him. Ms Malani is re­spon­si­ble to Ro Tei­mumu as an ad­viser. The rift be­tween the re­form­ers and the old guard had started af­ter the ex­po­sure of the con­tro­ver­sial Gau­nav­inaka Re­port last year. Mr Radro­dro is one of the re­form­ers headed by lawyer Mos­ese Buli­tavu. The re­port was crit­i­cal of Ro Tei­mumu’s lead­er­ship and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Op­po­si­tion Of­fice.

While the two sides filed com­plaints to the party’s man­age­ment board, the re­form­ers worked on changes to po­si­tion the party for the 2018 gen­eral elec­tion. They fi­nally suc­ceeded and voted for sweep­ing changes in the amended party con­sti­tu­tion. The changes are now be­ing im­ple­mented. Adi Li­tia Qion­i­bar­avi takes over as party gen­eral sec­re­tary from Pio Tabai­walu. Ms Qion­i­bar­avi was the chief ar­chi­tect of the amended con­sti­tu­tion. A new party leader should be elected next month to re­place Ro Tei­mumu who con­tin­ues as Op­po­si­tion Leader. Mick Bed­does, the for­mer prin­ci­pal ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer, who tried his best to op­pose the re­form­ers fi­nally stepped down. The man­age­ment board par­doned ev­ery­one named in the Gau­nav­inaka Re­port con­tro­versy. Ev­ery­one thought that was the end un­til Mr Prasad asked that ques­tion to Mr Radro­dro.

Mr Radro­dro’s al­lies are ask­ing why the old guard are sid­ing with Mr Prasad who is not a SODELPA mem­ber.

SODELPA Op­po­si­tion mem­ber Aseri Radro­dro.

Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party leader Bi­man Prasad.

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