Rabuka turns his back on Parliament – again
After losing the 1999 General Election to the Fiji Labour Party under Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka resigned. His deputy in the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni iTaukei – Ratu Inoke Kubuabola – took over the leadership and became Leader of the Opposition.
Rabuka has never taken rejection well. In 1999 the voters’ rejection of him either for leading the military coups of 1987 or embracing Jai Ram Reddy’s National Federation Party in an attempt at national unity, led to the SVT’s annihilation at the polls. He stepped aside and took up the position of first commoner to lead the now defunct Bose Levu Vakaturaga, often referred to as the Great Council of Chiefs.
When Rabuka was defeated in a palace coup and replaced by Bill Gavoka early this month, members of his Social Democratic Liberal Party should have known what their leader would do.
For Netani Rika's full analysis, login to your account or subscribe to our emag today.
By Anish Chand
Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has said he will continue from where he left off in 1997 to ensure a constitution like the one his government enacted in 1997.
In a speech at University of Fiji's School of Law on Tuesday this week, the SODELPA Leader said he remained confident and hopeful that “our country will return to genuine democracy and constitutional legality and legitimacy."
He also outlined what his vision was for Fiji.
“In the event SODELPA, the party that I have been entrusted to lead, wins the majority number of seats in parliament in the 2018 general elections, I shall resume the work that Hon Jai Ram Reddy and I started in the 1997 constitution. And this is to develop in full consultation with the people of Fiji, and with an all-parties consensus decision in parliament for a review of the 2013 Fiji constitution,” he said.
"The purpose of such a review will be ensure that the constitution genuinely reflects the wishes and the aspirations of “We the people of Fiji.”
He also elaborated why he was opposed to the usage of “Fijian” as the common name.
“For an indigenous iTaukei, to be called a “Fijian” means much more than being a citizen of Fiji. It means being registered in the iVola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) (Fijian registry) as a member of a customary landowning mataqali (clan). It is for this reason, that it has been very hard for many iTaukei to understand the Bainimarama regime’s rationale for unilaterally appropriating the name “Fijian” for use as the common name of all Fiji citizens,” he said.