Chaudhry attacks PM after PM says Chaudhry a selfish and weak-hearted leader

Chaudhry attacks PM after PM says Chaudhry a selfish and weak-hearted leader

By Rashika Kumar , Vijay Narayan , Mansi Chand
Wednesday 22/05/2024

Following Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka's reference to former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry as a selfish and weak-hearted leader, Chaudhry says Rabuka forgets that in recent times, he has allowed himself to be bullied and defied by his own ministers, lacking the courage to hold them to account and the cap fits him. This comes as Chaudhry had said on fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan that Rabuka's comment that Indo-Fijians should not mind being called ‘Vulagi’ is upsetting and does not bring true reconciliation.

While responding to fijivillage News, Rabuka had said that the term ‘Vulagi’ is the most respectful way of referring to a new arrival into a iTaukei community, and it entitles them to special hospitality considerations.

He had said if we are going to use semantics to derail the noble idea of looking for real reconciliation before we even start, then weak-hearted and selfish men like Chaudhry can continue to use ‘deferences’ to retain ethnic separation rather than use our mutual dreams and aspirations to unite us. While responding to the Prime Minister in a statement, Chaudhry says unfortunately, Rabuka’s history of leadership has shown him to be a selfish leader, the 1987 military coup can attest to that. He says Rabuka knows full well that the word ‘Vulagi’ is commonly used to mean a visitor and to give it any different slant in the political context is improper. He says ethnic minorities who are referred to as ‘Vulagi’ take an exception to it. Chaudhry says there was no need for him to have resurrected this issue in August 2023 when speaking at the World Indigenous Day celebrations in Suva after having apologized for People’s Alliance Party’s candidate Liliana Pareti-Warid’s reference to Fiji-Indians as ‘Vulagi’ in her Facebook page in the lead up to the 2022 general elections. The statement was retracted. He says it is also pertinent that the August statement was made after Rabuka had publicly apologized and sought forgiveness for his 1987 coups at the Reconciliation Service organized by the Methodist Church at the Vodafone Arena on 14 May 2023. The former Prime Minister says it seems that deep down he has a problem getting the word ‘Vulagi’ off his mind as a reference to Indo-Fijians who have lived here peacefully for the past 145 years, contributing immensely to Fiji’s development despite racist attacks on them. He says they have earned the right to be treated as equal citizens and not as visitors. Chaudhry adds in his vulagi statement, Rabuka referred to him as “a selfish and weak-hearted leader” but it is hardly an apt description, as his public record over the past 50 years would show.

In her earlier response to Chaudhry on Straight Talk, Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection and Girmit Celebrations Chair, Sashi Kiran said she doesn’t think Rabuka has said that Indo-Fijians should not mind calling themselves ‘Vulagi’.

Kiran said Rabuka called himself a ‘Vulagi’ and used it in the context that he is a visitor on World Indigenous Day celebrations and every Fijian who goes into a new space is a visitor in that space.

Minister for Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Sugar Industry, Charan Jeath Singh had said he does not believe the Prime Minister intended to make a statement that Indo-Fijians are visitors. Singh further says within the cabinet there is no feeling that Indo-Fijians are outsiders and policies are put in place for the betterment of everyone.

He added people are leaving for better opportunities and not because that they feel they don’t belong here.

Parents must prioritise their children - Tikoduadua
Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua is calling on parents and communities to take responsibility for looking after children as th...
35 minutes ago
Hayne wins appeal in rape case, ordered to stand trial for a fourth time
Former Vodafone Fiji Bati and Australian Kangaroos’ star Jarryd Hayne has won an appeal against his rape convictions and has been ordered to stand ...
13 minutes ago

RFNS Puamau receives support from the Australia Defence Force
The Fiji Navy fleet Class Patrol Boat RFNS Puamau that struck a reef in Fulaga has received additional aerial support from the Australian Defence ...
15 minutes ago

3 cases regarding involvement of Police in drugs currently in court
Police involvement in drug-related crimes is a challenge for the Fiji Police Force, as 3 cases are currently in court, and more cases are being ...
18 minutes ago

Increase pay for jobs where there are more women – Dr Bhim
Pay should be increased for those jobs where women are a majority, for example, nurses and teachers. This has been highlighted by FNU lecturer, ...
14 hours ago

Robust enforcement operations and road safety education results in road fatalities decreasing by 45% - Ro Filipe
The robust enforcement operations and comprehensive road safety education and awareness campaigns over the past few months have seen a substantial ...
14 hours ago

fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Pre-Budget 2024-2025
2023-2024 National Budget Address2023-2024 Budget Supplement2023-2024 Budget ...
17 hours ago

Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases
A crisis has erupted within the FijiFirst party relating to the termination of 17 members of parliament who supported the government's motion to ...
2 days ago

Sayed-Khaiyum case on alleged payment of Saneem's taxes without proper approval
It is alleged that between the 30th of June, 2022 and the 12th of July, 2022 in Suva, whilst being employed in the civil service as the Acting Prime ...
2 days ago