SODELPA headquarters in Suva is under pressure from members to do two things:
– To release the minutes of the special general meeting (SGM) on September 1 at Nawanawa Road, Nadera.
– To advertise the new post of a deputy party leader.
The pressure comes in the wake of the revelation of an “information paper” by the party secretariat.
The paper proposed constitutional amendments to appoint an acting party leader in an emergency and a deputy leader. Most of the recommendations including giving the President more power to become acting party leader or appoint someone were rejected at the management board meeting. At the special general meeting, Ratu Naiqama was only allowed to appoint an acting leader for seven days before the appointment is reviewed by the management board.
The delegation of more power too for the working committee on this issue was rejected also.
There is growing concern in the party about the content and implications of the “information paper”.
The decisions of the management board meeting were ratified by the special general meeting. But members who attended want to see the minutes because they claim the resolutions were rushed through.
Of particular concern to them is the seemingly growing power of the Working Committee, a surrogate of the management board.
On October 6, 2015, the management board, chaired by Savenaca Kamikamica in the absence of president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, decided that the powers of the board be delegated to the Working Committee which sits in between board meetings to direct the affairs of the party and give directions to the party secretariat.
Who appointed the members of the committee? The original members are President Ratu Naiqama as chair, one of the vice-presidents, Sitiveni Rabuka and Adi Litia from the management board and two from outside. Last Saturday three new members were appointed, Jope Koroisavou (Youths), Bani Kamawale (Tailevu) and Litia Maiwiriwiri (Women). Mr Kamikamica was dropped from the committee.
Mr Koroisavou and Mr Kamawale are understood to be independent thinkers who should not be underestimated by the old guard. They will ask questions when the need arises and will not rubber stamp issues they think will be detrimental to the party.
The focus on setting in place mechanisms to appoint a deputy party leader and acting party leader is centred on the possible outcome of Mr Rabuka’s court case. Mr Rabuka faces charges of failing to declare his assets and liabilities. If he loses the case, he would lose his party leader role and opportunity to contest the general election.
Senior party members have privately expressed their concerns about aspects of the party governance.
There is enough ammunition in the “information paper” for more questions to be asked.