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The two factions within Fiji’s Opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) purporting to be the legitimate management board made key appointments for senior positions.
In the meeting that was held at Suva’s Holiday Inn, vice president Vijay Singh, who chaired the meeting, was appointed acting president while Gina Pareti and Ratu Jone Lesuma were appointed acting vice presidents.
Activist Emele Duituturaga was appointed acting general secretary.
Speaking to reporters, Duituturaga said the appointment was made by the party’s management board because the positions were vacant.
“I am honoured and I also know it’s a huge responsibility,” she said.
Duituturaga said the party was facing challenges that needed to be addressed.
“The first responsibility I would have is to get unity among the party and this is going to be important. We know that there is a lot of support for SODELPA, but of course there still needs to be a lot of work done within the party itself.”
She said it was her role to help the executives strengthen the party.
“We have internal processes to work on to get our party running fit, to win but not to fight.”
Duituturaga said they would need to settle differences between the two factions before moving forward.
She said it was the role of the Registrar of Political Parties to decide which faction of the party was legitimate.
“I think the courts have made it quite clear that the affairs of the political party belong to the party, there is another meeting happening on the other side of town, so we are still one SODELPA party.
“These are the challenges we face and I am hoping that we are able to talk soon after this.”
Present at the meeting at the Holiday Inn were Opposition MPs Lynda Tabuya, Aseri Radrodro and Ro Teimumu Kepa.
The meeting also included Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Roko Sau Josefa Cinavilakeba and former unionist Semisi Lasike as invited guests.
Interim SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka will continue to mediate internal issues between the two factions of the party that held separate management board meetings in Suva
Rabuka said the meeting he attended at Suva’s Khatriya Hall appointed Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu as the party’s new acting president, Luke Ratuvuki as the acting vice president and Adi Litia Qionibaravi as the acting general secretary.
He said both factions of the party held separate board meetings to appoint the casual vacancies.
“There is division within the party,”Rabuka said. “My role as the mediator continues.
“I will look at the decisions made and I will communicate with the two parties on their views.
“This is to make sure the two parties will know what is going on in the other camp. The meeting today (Saturday) resolved that I should continue attempts on mediation.”
He said he had taken on board the reasons of the upheaval within the party.
He said there was a need to resolve the internal differences before the party’s annual general meeting to be held in June.
Rabuka said the party had resolved to bridge the various requirements according to the Constitution.
“There is still division and that is why I am continuing my mediation to try and bring the two factions together.”
Meanwhile, the appointment of Adi Litia Qionibaravi as the SODELPA acting general secretary is still legitimate.
Rabuka highlighted this saying it was quite sad that the other faction of the party had gone out of their way to elect Emele Duituturaga into the same position.
Rabuka said the special management board meeting initiated by Adi Litia and which was chaired by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu at Khatriya Hall was legitimate.
“I hope the meeting at Holiday Inn went well too,” Rabuka said.
When questioned about Duituturaga’s appointment, Rabuka said he was not aware of it.
“I didn’t know that, but it is sad,” he said.
He said they had resolved in the meeting to fill the casual vacancies within the party.
As part of the agenda, there were discussions to have the party’s annual general meeting by the end of June.
Rabuka said the initial agreement was for the meeting to be held at the Fijian Teachers Association hall at Knolly Street.
“We were all geared towards that, but then were told that the meeting will be held at Holiday Inn by the other group.
“I didn’t go to the meeting because when I looked at the constitution, who called the meeting and also preparatory meeting by the working meeting, I felt this was the one that I would come to because Honorable Adi Litia is still the general secretary according to the court rule and the processes, so she has the right to call the meeting.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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