SODELPA annual meeting invalid

A high court in Suva declared invalid a meeting by a Fiji political party last year along with it, outcomes, but refused orders seeking the immediate removal of subsequent appointees including two in leadership roles.

Social Democratic Liberal Party held its 2019 Annual General Meeting in June in Savusavu, on Fiji’s second biggest island in  Vanua Levu, resulting in the election of parliamentarians Ro Filipe Tuisawau as president and Adi Litia Qionibaravi, vice president. 

In a follow-up meeting, two months later, the party appointed Usaia Pita Waqatairewa as general secretary in place of Adi Litia.

In his ruling today, Justice Judge Vishwa Datt Sharma sided with the plaintiffs stating, that the meeting conducted on June 28 at Yaroi breached certain sections of the party’s constitution and Fiji’s 2013 constitution.

The plaintiffs in the matter are the party’s Suva constituency members led by Watisoni Nata, and include Dr Mere Samisoni, Emele Duitututraga, Jope Koroisavou, Silivenusi Waqausa, Malakai Vuetibau, Kesaia Makita, Soro Ravulo, and Rogowale Seniviavia.  The defendants being the party, Ro Filipe as second defendant, Anare Jale as third defendant, Adi Litia as fourth defendant and Usaia Waqatairewa as fifth defendant.

“The court declares that [it] breached sections 12.5(a), 12.5(b), 12.9, 13.8.1…and section 23(1)(b) of the 2013 Constitution,” the ruling read subsequently nullifying outcomes. Resignation as well as appointments made at that June AGM.

“The court further declares that the fourth defendant has ceased to be a member of the Management Board by virtue of Section 13.8.1 and 13.8.3 of the SODELPA constitution.

“The orders sought by the plaintiff in his originating summons at paragraphs 6 and 7 are accordingly refused for the reasons cited at paragraph 171 of my judgment hereinabove.”

Justice Sharma further ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiffs $2000 in courts costs within 14 days.

Meanwhile, at the 2019 meeting Ro Filipe won with 524 votes, displacing acting party president Anare Jale who also contested the leadership post, but only attracted 157 votes. Adi Litia replaced Ro Dona Takalaiyale who did not seek re-election.

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