The SODELPA Management Board meeting is underway in Suva, and there are clear indications coming through at the moment that there will be no interviews conducted with the candidates for the Party Leader and Deputy Leader positions by the board.
As the meeting continues, one of the top contenders to lead SODELPA, Viliame Gavoka has said before the meet that he has preferred this process as he went through the Management Board controlled interview in 2016.
Gavoka says this Interview Panel asked some probing questions while the previous one open to all Management Board members was a little limiting and did not have the depth of what he went through this time.
He says in 2016, some Management Board members targeted him for being the father-in-law of Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Gavoka says he was surprised by the manner in which those questions were asked in 2016.
He stresses that family is family however he was, is and will always be loyal to SODELPA.
Fijivillage has received information that the Management Board will discuss the outcome of the report of recruitment agency, Pacific People and the Interview Panel.
A vote is then expected to be taken for the Party Leader and Deputy Leader position.
SODELPA had earlier agreed to a process to ensure the recruitment of the Party Leader has to be done by a nationally recognised recruitment process.
The executives led by SODELPA President, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau believe the best process was to have an Interview Panel and a recruitment agency to oversee the interview process. The Chairperson of the Interview Panel was Professor Tupeni Baba.
SODELPA’s Caretaker Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, Viliame Gavoka, Aseri Radrodro and Ro Filipe Tuisawau have been interviewed for the Party Leader position.
Aseri Radrodro, Lynda Tabuya, Filimoni Vosarogo and Ro Filipe Tuisawau were also interviewed for the Deputy Leader post. The 42 members of the Management Board are expected to vote for the Leader and Deputy Leader based on the recommendation today.
SODELPA parliamentarian, Mosese Bulitavu is not present in the meeting.
Bulitavu does not agree with the process and maintains that it is unconstitutional to get an Interview Panel and recruitment agency to conduct the interviews with the candidates as the Management Board has to be present during that process.
He also says Professor Tupeni Baba was only put in the panel to get specific people appointed, and he maintains it is not a neutral process.
Bulitavu says this is evident after Professor Baba also said that some people within SODELPA have to be removed.
Bulitavu says he and 13 other management board members have already indicated to Ratu Epenisa Cakobau that they will take legal action if the Management Board does not conduct the final interviews today.
Bulitavu who had applied for the Deputy Leader position also refused to attend the earlier interview conducted by the panel.
Professor Baba maintains that he is a professional and not against any candidate who was interviewed. He also says he was part of the SODELPA set up from the beginning and does not operate like Bulitavu.
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