Fit for PM
13 February, 2016, 12:00 am
A MUCH reduced Opposition failed in their attempt to remove Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and appoint Ro Teimumu Kepa as the new PM in a vote of no confidence in Parliament yesterday.
The vote of no confidence moved by Opposition MP Semesa Karavaki was thrown out because 29 MPs voted against it.
In a heated debate that lasted for almost six hours, the 29 government MPs gave speeches in Parliament, showing their support to Mr Bainimarama and labelling the Opposition’s action an insult to the 202,459 Fijians who voted for the PM in the September 2014 polls.
While tabling the motion, Mr Karavaki said the Opposition wanted Ro Teimumu to be the country’s new Prime Minister by the end of yesterday.
“It has become very apparent and very clear now that this nation needs to be redeemed, it needs to be saved and the only way it can be changed is to change the Prime Minister,” he claimed.
Mr Karavaki claimed that it was very clear that the reform the FijiFirst Government was bringing was the introduction of socialism in the country.
“This country does not need a strongman to lead. It needs somebody to heal the wounds that this country is suffering from,” he said. “The Prime Minister now is truly an enforcer and portrays himself as a strongman, but in fact is not a healer.”
Mr Bainimarama said the motion backfired on the Opposition.
“We expected that. I said in the last couple of days that we were looking forward because we know the intention of the motion and it’s not easy to remove me because they know we have the numbers,” he said.
“The intention of the motion was to bring about all those issues they (Opposition) have been harping about the last two years.
“But see what happened, it backfired on them and that’s why I was hoping they bring it because the motion will backfire on them and it did very badly.”
He said he wished this was election week, he would have got all the votes.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Opposition should respect and uphold democracy, and understand that majority of the people voted for the Prime Minister.
He said the Opposition can wait for the election in 2018 and not create unnecessary fear by tabling a motion of no confidence.
Defence Minister Timoci Natuva said the Opposition should accept the realities of democracy.
The Prime Minister was backed by Health Minister Jone Usamate, Labour Minister Semi Koroilavesau, Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy, Local Government Minister Parveen Kumar, Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu, Youth and Sports Minister Laisenia Tuitubou and Minister for Women, Rosy Akbar.
Ro Teimumu said what the Opposition did yesterday was democratic and in accordance to the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders.
“For us in the Opposition, we prefer doing things by legal means. We can either bring it as a vote of no confidence or what other coup leaders have done and carry out a coup like our present Prime Minister did in 2006,” she said. Ro Teimumu said the Opposition was disappointed in the way things were done by Government in Parliament this week and in particular, the amendments to the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee, presentation of petitions and fast tracking of important Bills that her members were not aware of.