SODELPA: It’s About Protocol
The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has denied claims it is using vanua protocol to garner support from the electorate.
This comes as a party entourage led by its leader, Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, began visiting villages in the Western Division this week.
Party General Secretary Pio Tabaiwalu denied the claim at Viseisei Village yesterday.
“I think the media is creating the hype here. It is part of our identity as iTaukei to do this. You cannot enter vanua or province without presenting your sevusevu, so casting the racial slur as it were on the party is inappropriate,” he said.
Mr Tabaiwalu said the party was just following iTaukei protocol, something that had been passed down from generation to generation.
“The Marama Bale Roko Tui Dreketi has connection to other vanua around the country and this linkage of our chiefs was established before colonisation and before Christianity came,” he said.
“These links have held us together as a people.”
Mr Tabaiwalu said the visit is not a party campaign, but simply following traditional protocols.
“It is not really a campaign. We are following traditional protocol, where the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi has personal connections to chiefly houses in the Western Division,” said Mr Tabaiwalu.
“We haven’t started our campaign. We are here to request them personally for our candidates for the future. It is just productively relevant for her to present her traditional sevusevu to chiefly houses in the Western Division so that it opens the door for our candidates to campaign. Tabaiwalu said the party will visit other parts of Fiji in the coming weeks.
“Time is short to cover the Central and Northern divisions, but the Eastern is pretty tight.”
Ro Teimumu is accompanied by President Silivenusi Waqausa and four other party officials.
Meanwhile, SODELPA’s media manager Sainiana Radrodro said the party visited Sabeto, Namoli and Vitogo yesterday.
They are scheduled to visit the two chiefly villages in Ba – Nailaga and Sorokoba – while Tavualevu Village in Tavua will be visited today and Ra Province on Friday.