Fiji’s Sodelpa to go back to the drawing board
Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Friday 26 September 2014
The Leader of Fiji’s Sodelpa party, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says the party will follow through with its call for a parliamentary enquiry into the election but it also wants to find out where it went wrong.
The leader of Fiji’s Sodelpa party, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says the party will follow through with its call for a parliamentary inquiry into the election but it also wants to find out where it went wrong.
Frank Bainimarama’s FijiFirst won 32 seats in the 50 member parliament, the Sodelpa Party 15 and the National Federation Party three.
Ro Teimumu told Sally Round the party wants to know why about 40 percent of indigenous Fijians, seen as Sodelpa’s support base, went for FijiFirst.
RO TEIMUMU KEPA: For me it is quite surprising that people knew how FijiFirst came into existence through a coup and I had thought that many of the majority people in Fiji would not support any coup perpetrators because we have heard it often been said around the country, how can we end the coups, we have had enough of coups, we want to end the coups once and for all. Plenty of Fijians have voted for them, so I am talking about the total population, including the indigenous Fijians, the figures we are getting is that 40 percent have voted for the FijiFirst, and to me that is quite surprising. So we have to go back, do our homework and find out what caused this shift in their mind set to go along with FijiFirst.
SALLY ROUND: Any indication at this point where you think you went wrong.
RTK: We hear this shift was in the last two weeks or maybe in the last week, one of which was when the Prime Minister announced that there will be no burning in the country, Fiji will not burn, something like that, was in the headlines, was in one of the papers, and I believe that caused fear in people, especially in those who own properties, that never came up previously in any discussion, in any conversation, for him to suddenly come up with a burning, you know, that put the fear factor into people and another one was when we had the debate, that was the last Sunday before elections when he did say that another hat that was he looking to wearing was the commanders hat , so for people that confirmed to them that were some elements of fear that was in the air, and also the freebies that people felt that they were going to get from FijiFirst. That’s what changed their mind at the last minute.
SR: What about the thought that FijiFirst was portraying herself as a truly multi ethnic party , Fiji is in a new generation and SODELPA was living more in the past.
RTK: I think what we were looking at was a longer term vision for Fijians, particularly the indigenous population including the other groups that live here Fiji. So what we are going to do is to go back. That is why we are having a meeting next week to go back to the drawing board and see things that we need to change in order to move forward with the people here in Fiji.