SODELPA MPs Toe Party Line in Buli­tavu Mo­tion

Fiji Sun - - Parliament News - by Ne­mani De­laibatiki Feed­back: ne­­[email protected]­jisun.

Some SODELPA MPs were toe­ing the party line to op­pose a Gov­ern­ment mo­tion against Mos­ese Buli­tavu.

If they were al­lowed a con­science vote, they would have sup­ported the mo­tion.

They could face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion by the party and lose their seats in Par­lia­ment, if they voted for the mo­tion.

It also ex­plains why no SODELPA MP had spo­ken out against Mr Buli­tavu.

Op­po­si­tion leader Si­tiveni Rabuka told Par­lia­ment yesterday that it was with a heavy heart that they con­demned Mr Buli­tavu’s re­marks on women and the racist ref­er­ence to the Indo-Fi­jian com­mu­nity, but they op­posed the mo­tion.

The at­tacks against Mr Buli­tavu came mostly from the Gov­ern­ment side. The only Op­po­si­tion mem­ber that sup­ported the mo­tion was Bi­man Prasad, the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party leader.

Mr Rabuka jus­ti­fied their po­si­tion by telling Par­lia­ment that Mr Buli­tavu was un­der Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­leged breaches of the Public Or­der Act and they did not want to prej­u­dice the process.

He said the Po­lice would send their in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sults to the Of­fice of the Direc­tor of Public Prose­cu­tion to de­cide whether charges should be laid.

If Mr Buli­tavu was charged, he would have to ap­pear in court, Mr Rabuka said.

He said it was their col­lec­tive po­si­tion to vote against the mo­tion. Mr Rabuka’s open­ing state­ment that they con­demned Mr Buli­tavu’s re­marks was the core mes­sage of the mo­tion. So it was a con­tra­dic­tion when he said they op­posed the mo­tion.

Clearly, it was a po­lit­i­cal ploy to save face.

If they sup­ported the mo­tion, then they would face pres­sure to dis­ci­pline Mr Buli­tavu.

This would have been an ideal op­por­tu­nity to put into prac­tice their call for a bi­par­ti­san ap­proach to na­tional is­sues.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence against women and racism are two of those im­por­tant is­sues.

The SODELPA po­si­tion shows that Mr Buli­tavu is a “special and pro­tected” MP.

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