Ro Teimumu Kepa disagrees with Party Leader on common name
Aliki Bia/Rachael Nath
May 20, 2018 7:39 pm
A division within the Social Democratic Liberal Party has surfaced in regard to using the term Fijian as our common name.
A month ago, current Party Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka said he has reservations on using “Fijian” as our common name following the adoption of the 2013 Constitution.
Rabuka said personally he has three reservations on the common name, the first being the fact that the people were never consulted about the name change and it was imposed, the use of dual nationality as it creates the dubious situation about a person’s patriotic loyalty and attachment to Fiji and the third reservation is that it ignores the group rights and self-determination of indigenous iTaukei and Rotuman people.
However, Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa has welcomed the term Fijian for all Fiji Citizens stating it was what the people from the province of Rewa wanted.
“You have to understand that I come from Rewa and we from Rewa think outside the box and that is something we have undertaken over the last two years with the Girmit descendants so we think outside the box and we like to live like that.”
SODELPA member, Semesa Karavaki shared similar sentiments.
“I don’t agree with my Party leader I agree with God. I don’t agree with a human being to be my source of authority – my source of authority is the divine God himself. The name given to us was given by God – if a certain race was given the Fijian then it belongs to them only.”
SODELPA member, Niko Nawaikula says the decision for the use of common name must rest with the indigenous people.
“This is my personal opinion – If the Party expresses a view then I will have to follow that and my personal opinion is that – I would like that person to decide the way forward in relation to that name noting, in particular, it has been associated with indigenous people for over one century and implies a lot of things in relation to the way they live, their culture and their language.”
When asked by FBC News about the future of the party on coming to terms with Fijian as our common name, some members opt to follow the views of their Party Leader.