Ro Teimumu: GCC should have a say

Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa. Picture: FILE

OPPOSITION Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa says the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) should have the right to choose Fiji’s President and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

Ro Teimumu made the comment as Parliament is scheduled to appoint the country’s head of state today despite disappointments raised by the Opposition on the short notice given by the parliamentary secretariat on the important appointment.

As of last night, she said the Opposition caucus was still consulting on who would be their nominee for the high office, but confirmed that they would be ready with a name this morning.

“There should have been wider consultation and more time allowed before taking such an important and far reaching decision,” Ro Teimumu said.

“We are still consulting and we will be there tomorrow (today) with our nominee in Parliament.”

Ro Teimumu said she was disappointed with the fast-tracking of the process to appoint the next President.

“The Fiji parliamentary Opposition expresses its gross disappointment and deep concern on fast-tracking of the process to appoint the next President of Fiji when Fiji has time until October of this year to do that.”

“We see no warranted reason to rush the process and strongly believe there needs to be consensus building on the matter given the President is the head of the state symbolising the unity of the nation and also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.”

Ro Teimumu said it was SODELPA’s view that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga should have the right to choose the head of state.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said he would make known the party’s position in Parliament today.

“The National Federation Party is deeply disappointed at the total lack of consensus and dialogue between both Government and the Opposition as well as the main opposition party of SODELPA with NFP regarding the appointment of the President in Parliament tomorrow (today),” Prof Prasad said.

He said apart from the flawed process in convening Parliament, the total lack of consultation to achieve unanimity on a single candidate for the Office of the President between Government and the Opposition as well as SODELPA and NFP does not augur well for the President because the head of state symbolises national unity and harmony.

“This is the kind of parliamentary democracy we have witnessed since October 2014, culminating into a fa├žade where less than 48 hours’ notice was given to MPs to attend Parliament to appoint the President who is also the Commander in Chief of the army.

“We also make it clear that we disassociate ourselves from a statement issued by the Opposition office today (yesterday). We were not part of any discussions on the Opposition’s position and are not even aware of who SODELPA’s nominee will be.”

Responding to Ro Teimumu, Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni said there were processes in place based on the parliamentary Standing Orders and the Constitution, and they were being followed.

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