Chiefs back In full force In SODELPA
Bau Chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau was elected unopposed as the new President of SODELPA yesterday as predicted.
But the election of Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Roko Tui Dreketi, paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga Confederacy, and Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the Tui Cakau, paramount chief of Cakaudrove and the Tovata Confederacy as Vice Presidents came as a surprise.
Ratu Naiqama’s name was also nominated for president but he withdrew.
There was consensus that it was Kubuna Confederacy’s turn now to hold the president role,
Ratu Epenisa is the heir to the Vunivalu title, paramount chief of Kubuna. Burebasaga and Tovata have had their turns.
There may have been pockets of dissent in the Special General Meeting but after Ratu Naiqama spoke and gave his blessings for Ratu Epenisa the dissenting voices quietened down.
That was an indicator to what happened next. Now that Kubuna holds the top post, Burebasaga and Tovata would have a role to play in the party hierarchy. In came Ro Teimumu and Ratu Naiqama.
The chiefs are back in full force. Ro Teimumu and Ratu Naiqama were understood to be winding down into retirement.
Ratu Naiqama resigned as president in December 2018.
Both had said they would retire from politics before the 2018 General Election. Ro Teimumu said she heeded the call of the Vanua to put her retirement on the back burner. Ratu Naiqama followed her and changed his mind late in the 2018 election campaign
Many got the impression that this will be their last term in Parliament. They could be proved wrong yet again.
At the rate they are going, don’t be surprised to see them in the SODELPA lineup of candidates for 2022. Ratu Epenisa appears to have given them a new lease of life. Or are they there to keep a check on each other in the traditional rivalry?
But one thing is sure, Ratu Epenisa is the new face of SODELPA and brings a breath of fresh air to a deeply divided party.
Ratu Epenisa Cakobau