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Ratu Naiqama becomes Leader of Opposition after Rabuka resigns

Ratu Naiqama becomes Leader of Opposition after Rabuka resigns

By Antonio Rahiman
Tuesday 15/12/2020
[image: Parliament of Fiji]

Rabuka made the announcement while responding to the opening of the 2020-2021 Parliament Session.


Ratu Naiqama wants those involved in the 2000 deadly events out because they are from the same gang – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 11/12/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Leader of the Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people should know that the Leader of the Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is pushing for pardons for those who were responsible for the deadly events of 2000 because Ratu Naiqama and others are from the same gang.

Bainimarama also labelled the matanigasau (iTaukei forgiveness ceremony) presented by Ratu Naiqama and others as a farce.

Ratu Naiqama has called on the President Jioji Konrote to appoint a Mercy Commission who should then release people like Naitasiri high chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who has been convicted of one count of inciting mutiny in 2000 and 2000 coup leader, George Speight who is serving time for treason.

While speaking in parliament, Bainimarama says people should remember all the deadly events resulted in the tragic death of loyal soldiers and police officers.

He also stresses that he does not endorse anything less than equal treatment under the law regardless of status, titles and political connections for those responsible.

Bainimarama says he did not attend the matanigasau after the 2000 events and also requested the late former President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo not to attend the ceremony as it was fake.

A matanigasau is a iTaukei traditional ceremony where people seek forgiveness from those that they have wronged. In this ceremony, former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry and his ousted government members, Voreqe Bainimarama and affected soldiers did not attend the presentation.


Related story;


Prisoners like George Speight and Ratu Inoke Takiveikata should be released – Ratu Naiqama

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo, Iva Danford
Wednesday 09/12/2020
Leader of Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

Leader of Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says he is urging the President, Jioji Konrote and the government to also consider the release of prisoners like 2000 coup leader, George Speight and Naitasiri High Chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

When questioned by Fijivillage, Ratu Naiqama said there were more than 3,000 people that were charged and incarcerated in relation to the events of 2000, and all including George Speight should be released.

While speaking in parliament, Ratu Naiqama said this is not to create another coup but to take a step forward.

Ratu Naiqama adds he was also sent to prison for the events of 2000.

In April 2005, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu who was a Minister in the former Qarase led government, and former government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, were released from Labasa Prison to serve their sentences extramurally.

Their release came just 11 days after they were sent to prison for eight months for coup related offences.

Ratu Naiqama was found guilty of unlawful assembly. Magistrate Sunil Kumar had said at the time that in the 2000 instability, the people of the north expected the chiefs to play a leading role to take them out of the situation. Instead, the chiefs like Ratu Naiqama did otherwise.

Ratu Naiqama said in parliament yesterday that they carried out the forgiveness ceremonies twice.

Ratu Naiqama says they came with the chiefs from the North, making arrangements with Voreqe Bainimarama when he was the Army Commander, however Bainimarama was busy then.

He says he also visited Mahendra Chaudhry’s office at the time to ask for forgiveness however Chaudhry said he needed time to consult with the iTaukei members of his government on how they will approach the request to take part in the ceremony.

Ratu Naiqama says they ended up with the late former Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli and later on a big ceremony was held where they offered their sincere apologies to the nation.

He says all he is asking if the late former President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo was able to accept the request for forgiveness, he also urges the government of the day to consider the same.

When asked by Fijivillage outside parliament on not presenting a matanigasau in a forgiveness ceremony to Chaudhry and his government members and Bainimarama, Ratu Naiqama says he is a Fijian and he believes the forgiveness ceremony has been done.

Ratu Naiqama says the President has the powers to grant free or pardon a person convicted of an offence and remitting all or part of a punishment.

Ratu Inoke Takiveikata was convicted and sentenced in 2011 for inciting mutiny in 2000 at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Takiveikata was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole term of 8 years.

Ratu Naiqama asked government to also re-look at the role of the Mercy Commission in trying to clear those who have served their time in prison.

He says these people must be given another chance to be integrated into our community and participate in the nation as whole.

Ratu Naiqama says the parliamentarians have the audacity to come into parliament and preach about yellow ribbon and hopes the government could take account of all that have been affected where some have served over ten years in jail while others have served beyond 20 years.





Rabuka starts party set-up with two former military colonels

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 10/12/2020
Former SODELPA Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Former SODELPA Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka says he is now working with Colonel Sakiusa Raivoce and Colonel Mataiasi Lomaloma to form a new party and it will be up to the people who want to resign from other parties and join him in his new set up.

In an interview with fijivillage, Rabuka said he is focusing on the setting up of a party which would be similar to the former SVT that he headed in the 1990s.

When questioned on whether the rejection of him to be the SODELPA Leader during the recent party elections also played a part in him leaving the main opposition party, Rabuka says he knew he was not welcome to be in SODELPA so he is leaving to serve Fiji and the iTaukei.

Rabuka says he is happy to have left SODELPA as he knows there is no longer a cloak and dagger operation that you are worried about.

Rabuka who got 77,040 votes in the 2018 general elections, says the support can still be there however there were serious issues that created a problem within SODELPA where the secretariat had allegedly manipulated the management board.

The former Prime Minister says he did not tell the SODELPA caucus members before he announced his resignation on Monday as he did not want to make it sound like a conspiracy, it was a personal decision and he wanted a clean break from all the loads involved.

Rabuka says he will start strategizing to form the party and consider others who resign from other parties.

SODELPA President, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau thanked Rabuka for the services he rendered to the party and wished him well in his endeavours.

Ratu Epenisa says the disruptions will pass, however in the meantime, the party must remain focused on it’s goals.



Prisoners like George Speight and Ratu Inoke Takiveikata should be released – Ratu Naiqama

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo, Iva Danford
Wednesday 09/12/2020
Leader of Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

Leader of Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says he is urging the President, Jioji Konrote and the government to also consider the release of prisoners like 2000 coup leader, George Speight and Naitasiri High Chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

When questioned by Fijivillage, Ratu Naiqama said there were more than 3,000 people that were charged and incarcerated in relation to the events of 2000, and all including George Speight should be released.

While speaking in parliament, Ratu Naiqama said this is not to create another coup but to take a step forward.

Ratu Naiqama adds he was also sent to prison for the events of 2000.

In April 2005, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu who was a Minister in the former Qarase led government, and former government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, were released from Labasa Prison to serve their sentences extramurally.

Their release came just 11 days after they were sent to prison for eight months for coup related offences.

Ratu Naiqama was found guilty of unlawful assembly. Magistrate Sunil Kumar had said at the time that in the 2000 instability, the people of the north expected the chiefs to play a leading role to take them out of the situation. Instead, the chiefs like Ratu Naiqama did otherwise.

Ratu Naiqama said in parliament yesterday that they carried out the forgiveness ceremonies twice.

Ratu Naiqama says they came with the chiefs from the North, making arrangements with Voreqe Bainimarama when he was the Army Commander, however Bainimarama was busy then.

He says he also visited Mahendra Chaudhry’s office at the time to ask for forgiveness however Chaudhry said he needed time to consult with the iTaukei members of his government on how they will approach the request to take part in the ceremony.

Ratu Naiqama says they ended up with the late former Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli and later on a big ceremony was held where they offered their sincere apologies to the nation.

He says all he is asking if the late former President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo was able to accept the request for forgiveness, he also urges the government of the day to consider the same.

When asked by Fijivillage outside parliament on not presenting a matanigasau in a forgiveness ceremony to Chaudhry and his government members and Bainimarama, Ratu Naiqama says he is a Fijian and he believes the forgiveness ceremony has been done.

Ratu Naiqama says the President has the powers to grant free or pardon a person convicted of an offence and remitting all or part of a punishment.

Ratu Inoke Takiveikata was convicted and sentenced in 2011 for inciting mutiny in 2000 at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Takiveikata was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole term of 8 years.

Ratu Naiqama asked government to also re-look at the role of the Mercy Commission in trying to clear those who have served their time in prison.

He says these people must be given another chance to be integrated into our community and participate in the nation as whole.

Ratu Naiqama says the parliamentarians have the audacity to come into parliament and preach about yellow ribbon and hopes the government could take account of all that have been affected where some have served over ten years in jail while others have served beyond 20 years.




Consider releasing prisoners like Ratu Inoke Takiveikata – Ratu Naiqama

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 08/12/2020
Leader of Opposition Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Leader of Opposition, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has urged the President, Jioji Konrote and the government to consider the release of prisoners like Naitasiri High Chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

While speaking in parliament, Ratu Naiqama said this is not to create another coup but to take a step forward.

Ratu Naiqama adds he was also sent to prison for the events of 2000.

He says they carried out the forgiveness ceremonies twice. Ratu Naiqama says they came with the chiefs with the North, making arrangements with Voreqe Bainimarama when he was the Army Commander, however Bainimarama was busy then.

Ratu Naiqama says he also visited Mahendra Chaudhry’s office at the time to ask for forgiveness however Chaudhry said he needed time to consult with the iTaukei members of his government on how they will approach the request to take part in the ceremony.

Ratu Naiqama says they ended up with the late former Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli and later on a big ceremony was held where they offered their sincere apologies to the nation.

He says all he is asking if the late former President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo was able to accept the request for forgiveness, he also urges the government of the day to consider the same.

Ratu Naiqama says the President has the powers to grant free or pardon a person convicted of an offence and remitting all or part of a punishment.

Ratu Inoke Takiveikata was convicted and sentenced in 2011 for inciting mutiny in 2000 at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Takiveikata was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non parole term of 8 years.

Ratu Naiqama asked government to also re-look at the role of the Mercy Commission in trying to clear those who have served their time in prison.

He says these people must be given another chance to be integrated into our community and participate in the nation as whole.

Ratu Naiqama says the parliamentarians have the audacity to come into parliament and preach about yellow ribbon and hopes the government could take account of all that have been affected where some have served over ten years in jail while others have served beyond 20 years.





Challenging role to be stepping into the shoes of a great Opposition Leader – Ratu Naiqama

By Iva Danford, Naveel Krishant, Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 08/12/2020
Party Leader Viliame Gavoka and SODELPA MP, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. [image: file]

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is the new Leader of Opposition.

SODELPA Whip, Lynda Tabuya confirmed that there were 14 votes in favour of Ratu Naiqama and 5 for SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka in their caucus vote this morning.

SODELPA MP, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua nominated Ratu Naiqama’s name for the position in parliament.

There were no other nominations.

Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau then declared Ratu Naiqama as the Leader of Opposition.

Ratu Naiqama says it is a challenging role as he is stepping into the shoes of a great Opposition Leader.

Lynda Tabuya says their constitution makes a provision that their parliamentary leader is to be chosen from the parliamentary caucus, and there is no specific provision that the party leader automatically becomes the parliamentary leader.





PM walks across to shake hand with Rabuka after his resignation from parliament

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant, Iva Danford
Monday 07/12/2020
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama and Opposition Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama walked across to the Opposition Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka and shook his hand after Rabuka’s resignation from parliament.

They also hugged each other. Rabuka says this is a move to take Fiji forward as he thinks Bainimarama believes that he was involved in anti-Bainimarama plots.

When questioned outside Parliament, Rabuka says his resignation is not about him losing the leadership of SODELPA and he remains an ordinary member of the party.



Rabuka says he also has an unfinished grievance with the party which is yet to be answered and this is in regards to the selection process.

However Rabuka says he will no longer be an obstacle to the bi-partisan approach being taken by the leaders of Fiji to create harmony, unity and progress.

He adds the Prime Minister has not been able to work with him.

Rabuka says his supporters either supported him or the party and has urged them to continue to either support him or the party.

He adds he may not return as a politician and if that is the case then the supporters stay with SODELPA. Rabuka got the highest number of votes as a member of the opposition in the 2018 general elections. He got 77,040 votes.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama got the highest amount of votes in the 2018 elections. He got 167,732 votes.




Rabuka resigns from Parliament

By Iva Danford, Naveel Krishant
Monday 07/12/2020
Sitiveni Rabuka farewells members of Parliament. [Image: Fiji Parliament]

Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka has resigned from parliament.

He made the announcement while responding to the opening of the 2020-2021 Parliament Session by President Jioji Konrote.

Rabuka says he will no longer be an obstacle to the bi-partisan approach being taken by the leaders of Fiji to create harmony, unity and progress.

He says the Prime Minister has not been able to work with him.

When questioned outside Parliament, Rabuka says his resignation is not about him losing the leadership of SODELPA and he remains an ordinary member of the party.

Rabuka says he also has an unfinished grievance with the party which is yet to be answered and this is in regards to the selection process.

Rabuka says his supporters either supported him or the party and has urged them to continue to either support him or the party.

He adds he may not return as a politician and if that is the case then the supporters stay with SODELPA.




Related story;


I am still in a state of shock – Gavoka

By Iva Danford, Naveel Krishant
Monday 07/12/2020
SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka and NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad

SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka says he is still in a state of shock after the resignation of the Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

Gavoka says parliament has lost a giant.

He says he has indicated to Rabuka that SODELPA always needs him and Rabuka has agreed to help.



He adds that by the end of the day, they will know where they stand.

Meanwhile, NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says he wishes Rabuka well.

Prasad says NFP supported Rabuka to be the Leader of the Opposition.





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