Political parties refute claims by Government

Majority of Fiji's political parties insist race and religion are issues that matter to the people. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Government’s continued public utterances and accusation that some political parties are abusing race and religion for electioneering are wrong.

In fact the majority of Fiji’s political parties insist race and religion are issues that matter to the people, and are raised and expressed by the people.

As we head towards the 2018 General Election, The Fiji Times asked the seven registered political parties contesting the 2018 polls: Should politicians use race and religion in their election campaign?

The Social Democratic Liberal Party, Unity Fiji party, National Federation Party, Fiji Labour Party and the Freedom Alliance party believe that in a multiracial society such as Fiji, one cannot escape the reality of race and religion when the issue is affecting the people.

HOPE party and the FijiFirst party did not respond to the question when this edition went to press last night.

Questions were sent to the parties via electronic mail (email) on Monday.

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said the party would continue to strive to “do what is right, with malice towards none”, and would abide by this and the laws of Fiji throughout the campaign.

Mr Rabuka said the PM was wrong in suggesting that SODELPA was “for the iTaukei”. “SODELPA’s founding document and guiding principles affirm the freedom and dignity of all ethnic communities, cultures, religions and religious denominations and the right of opinion and belief,” he said.

“I plead with the Fijian people to refrain from stereotyping and making generalisations about other communities and religions,” Mr Rabuka said.

Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube said the Government continued to accuse opposition parties of using race and religion in the buildup to the election.