BY: PENI KOMAISAVAI
Former Governor of Fiji’s Reserve Bank, Savenaca Narube has declined to confirm that he has been approached by the opposition’s SODELPA Party to take up an executive position in the party.
When approached at his home in Suva today, Narube said he would neither confirm nor deny the SODELPA move.
He could only say that he has been in discussions with “other political parties [that are] not in government”, but he is not in any position to disclose the options that [are] being developed.
With SODELPA holding its annual general meeting in the northern town of Savusavu tomorrow (28/6), speculation is mounting as to who will be elected into the party leadership.
Two particular executive positions are vacant; that of party president, with the incumbent, High chief and SODELPA parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu stepping down, and party leader. Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka had to resign as SODELPA Party Leader in keeping with the party constitution, that stipulates that the party leader must resign if he or she does not lead the party into winning a general election.
All current executives of the party declined to be drawn into disclosing the nominations for party leadership.
A source had said that a group led by Ratu Naiqama wants Narube to be nominated deputy party leader of SODELPA. The idea is that closer to the 2022 elections, the former reserve bank governor would play a key role in contesting the polls for the opposition.
A name widely speculated to contest the party presidency position, is young Rewa chief and opposition MP, Ro Filipe Tuisawau. An economist by profession, Ro Filipe is nephew to former opposition leader and paramount chief of the Burebasaga confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa.
Ro Teimumu has already announced that this would be her last term in parliament, and she is reportedly staying away from the Savusavu meeting because she is engaged with her vanua’s fundraising festival in Nausori.
Another candidate being proposed for party president is Anare Jale. He is currently acting party president.
SODELPA MP, Adi Litia Qionibaravi is stepping down as party general secretary and the election of her replacement will also take place in Savusavu tomorrow. One source says Adi Litia may be nominated for party Vice President.
The party has not revealed who is nominated for general secretary, although a source had earlier told IB Online that a lawyer was interested in the job.