Rabuka: Give right to ratepayers to elect councillors

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka speaking at Dialogue Fiji's forum on social cohesion. Picture: FT FILE/FELIX CHAUDHARY

RATEPAYERS should be given the right to elect councillors for their respective municipal councils, says Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

He issued the statement in response to recent comments made by Local Government Minister Premila Kumar.

During a meeting with newly-appointed Board of Special Administrators on Wednesday early this week, she said councils of the past had been running their municipalities without really having “financial acumen”.

Mr Rabuka said the Government had had direct control over the affairs of municipal councils after it appointed special administrators in 2009.

“Municipal councils are best run by councillors elected by the ratepayers, rather than special administrators appointed by Government,” he said.

He called on the ministry to set a timeline to conduct elections for all municipal councils.

“In this way, ratepayers elect the best people to run the affairs of their own cities and towns and how their municipal council should be managed in a more transparent and accountable manner compared to the current arrangement.

“Rather than holding local government elections, the Bainimarama Government continues its dictatorial approach in the municipalities, denying ratepayers the right to elect their local government representatives to run their municipal councils.

“The Government should practise the good governance it likes to boast about and really listen to views of ratepayers on what they want their municipal councils to look like and do, and not just hold consultations in name only.”

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