In­con­sis­ten­cies, Con­tra­dic­tions Dot Trail of Op­po­si­tion Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in Bain­i­marama-Tiko­d­uadua In­ci­dent

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

If you are con­fused and can’t un­der­stand the kind of pol­i­tics the Op­po­si­tion MPs are play­ing in the cur­rent ses­sion of Par­lia­ment we don’t blame you.

We all know that Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party MPs, leader Bi­man Prasad, Pio Tiko­d­uadua and Lenora Qereqereta­bua, are boy­cotting Par­lia­ment over the Bain­i­marama-Tiko­d­uadua case. But on Tues­day, they at­tended the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee meet­ing to give ev­i­dence against Mr Bain­i­marama.

They wrote to the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and lodged a com­plaint against the PM. They also wanted Ratu Epeli to in­ves­ti­gate the al­leged in­ci­dent and asked for a CCTV footage be­cause they in­tended to bring this mat­ter to the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee.

When Ratu Epeli re­ported to Par­lia­ment on Mon­day his rul­ing that he was re­fer­ring the case to the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee, the MPs were ab­sent. It was a show of dis­re­spect to Ratu Epeli, es­pe­cially when the re­port was in re­sponse to their re­quest.

Their re­sponse to Ratu Epeli’s state­ment was neg­a­tive. Then they had the au­dac­ity to at­tend the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee meet­ing which the Speaker had or­dered.

They should have boy­cotted it as well

to make their po­si­tion on this is­sue con­sis­tent.

But they didn’t be­cause it suited their nar­row po­lit­i­cal agenda and that is to build their case against the PM. Be­cause of this case other im­por­tant mat­ters of na­tional in­ter­est were rel­e­gated by the Speaker to ex­pe­dite its res­o­lu­tion. Mr Tiko­d­uadua was called in yes­ter­day af­ter an­other ses­sion with the com­mit­tee.

To­day the com­mit­tee will ta­ble its re­port to Par­lia­ment. The ques­tion is: Will the NFP MPs ac­cept the find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions of the com­mit­tee? Now that that they have told the com­mit­tee what they had, will they at­tend Par­lia­ment to­day. They in ef­fect ended the boy­cott when they at­tended the com­mit­tee.

Was the Speaker in­formed of the boy­cott and the rea­sons by writ­ing be­fore it hap­pened like the Op­po­si­tion Leader Si­tiveni Rabuka did be­fore boy­cotting the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee meet­ing with Adi Li­tia Qion­i­bar­avi. Ac­cord­ing to par­lia­men­tary pro­to­col and con­ven­tion, MPs need to seek the Speaker’s per­mis­sion by let­ter that they would be ab­sent and state the rea­sons in­volved.

If they fail to com­ply with the re­quire­ments should their salaries be docked? What about their re­spon­si­bil­ity to those who elected them?

Tiko­d­uadua’s car

Po­lice spokesper­son Ana Naisoro has con­firmed that no of­fi­cial re­port was lodged by Mr Tiko­d­uadua at any Po­lice sta­tion re­gard­ing the al­leged tam­per­ing in­ci­dent.

He had claimed in a me­dia re­port that his car was tam­pered with and he feared for the safety of his fam­ily af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

This is a se­ri­ous claim and should have been re­ported to the Po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate. Why wasn’t it re­ported then (last month) and what is his mo­tive in bring­ing it out now?

The im­pli­ca­tions are se­ri­ous and could lead to all kinds of spec­u­la­tions that are un­founded.

Rabuka’s chang­ing stance

Se­nior Op­po­si­tion part­ner SODELPA also showed ques­tion­able con­duct. Orig­i­nally Mr Rabuka had writ­ten to the Speaker say­ing the party’s par­lia­men­tary cau­cus had unan­i­mously agreed to not par­tic­i­pate in the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee, say­ing the Speaker had erred in his rul­ing.

He said they were of the “strong view” that Par­lia­ment should not in­ter­fere with the work and con­sti­tu­tional role of the Po­lice.

He then tried to join the com­mit­tee af­ter the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz SayedKhaiy­um had re­cused him­self af­ter Mr Rabuka com­plained against him. He failed. Mos­ese Buli­tavu re­placed him. Adi Li­tia Qion­i­bar­avi is the sec­ond SODELPA mem­ber.

That is a com­plete about turn from their orig­i­nal po­si­tion.

Last but not least is Mr Rabuka’s at­tempt to claim the credit of ini­ti­at­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween Mr Bain­i­marama and Mr Tiko­d­uadua. Mr Bain­i­marama had sought to apol­o­gise to Mr Tiko­d­uadua in the pres­ence of the Speaker on the day of the al­leged in­ci­dent.

The ball is now in Mr Tiko­d­uadua’s court to de­cide on whether he is pre­pared to to ac­cept Mr Bain­i­marama’s apol­ogy.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Op­po­si­tion MP Pio Tiko­d­uadua out­side Par­lia­ment last month.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Op­po­si­tion leader Si­tiveni Rabuka out­side Par­lia­ment on Septem­ber 4, 2019.

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