Party’s ‘racism’ tag

THE “racism” tag associated with the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is acting as a deterrent for the party to secure the support of non-iTaukei youths for the 2018 polls.

This was revealed by the party’s youth wing president, Jope Koroisavou, who said the party was strategising itself to get youths of other ethnic backgrounds, apart from the iTaukei, to contest the election under the party’s banner.

“It’s a challenge, especially with what the party stands for,” he said.

“This issue of racism, that’s the main challenge and barrier that other youths are looking at.”

Mr Koroisavou claimed that other political opponents of the party had painted a bad image of SODELPA, making it look like an iTaukei party.

“I think for me, it’s trying to make the youth understand the issues that the iTaukei people are struggling with, but at the same time trying to also look at the broader issues the youths are facing.

“Also, the lack of platform for us (other ethnicities) to sit down and communicate, talk and get to know each other better in terms of what we are as a party and what we are fighting for.

“We have that platform and when we start to communicate, we will be able to remove the barrier.”

Mr Koroisavou said the party was very open to every race and religion.

“We (SODELPA) fight on issues that affect everyone.

“It’s just our brothers and sisters from other communities do not have the proper opportunity to really sit down and listen and understand and we are generally trying to fight for all youths in the nation.”

He also revealed that in recent months, three youth members of the party had resigned, citing fear of being removed from their paid employment for joining the party.

Mr Koroisavou said despite all these, the party’s youth base was building.

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