Fiji’s Opposition Leader To Relinquish SODELPA Leadership

Ro Teimumu Kepa to make way for a new party leader

By Nasik SwamiSUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 3, 2016) – Ro Teimumu Kepa has decided she will not contest the Social Democratic Liberal Party's (SODELPA) leadership at the end of this month.

Being at the helm of the party for seven years and surviving the challenges Fiji offered towards her return to parliamentary democracy in 2014, the veteran politician and paramount chief of the Burebasaga confederacy said it was time to call it a day.

In an interview yesterday, the Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi said it was time to move on and "make room for new leadership".

"There are other people who can take up the party's leadership role," Ro Teimumu said.

She said she had already made the announcement she would not be in the run for the party's leadership in her home province in Rewa and also before the SODELPA management board and various other committees.

"This position of party leader is coming up for endorsement later this month and we all have been informed that various people are there for nomination. I am not one of them," Ro Teimumu said.

"I believe that after Laisenia Qarase, who was our first party leader, he served very well in that position and after him, I came through the interim and those difficult times before the 2014 elections."

Ro Teimumu said it was time for her to hand over to another person, who she believed would take the party forward between now and the next general election.

When questioned about the quality of people nominated for the party's leadership, she said the matter was handled by the party office and she was not privy to the information on those who had been nominated by the various sub-constituencies. She added there had been all sorts of insinuations in terms of how she was being removed from her current position of party leader.

"I have to set the record straight that no such event has happened and we are going through the proper procedures and that when someone's term comes to an end, which will happen towards the end of June, and the next party leader will take up that role."

Last night, the leader of the Sau Turaga clan of Rewa, Ro Dona Takalaiyale, said the full support of the vanua was behind Ro Teimumu and that he would call the vanua to a meeting at Lomanikoro to further strengthen the already "solid" support for her.

"Her support from the vanua remains intact and her relationship with the Burebasaga confederacy remains solid," Ro Dona said.

It is understood that in the running for the party leader's position are former prime minster Sitiveni Rabuka, SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka and Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca. Ro Teimumu will still remain as the Opposition leader until the next general election.

While the party's support base could not be determined, the party polled 139,857 votes during the 2014 General Election.

Fiji Times Online.
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