This page is dedicated to the Fiji Parliamentary Elections on 6-13 May. News items concerning the election of special interest to the Rotuman community will be posted here, along with information submitted by candidates for the Rotuma seat. We would like to invite each of the candidates to submit their platforms and information about themselves for posting.
Jioje Konrote - Independent Electoral Platform & Curriculum Vitae, Interview
Victor Fatiaki - Independent Manifesto & Curriculum Vitae
Mua Ieli Taukave - United People's
Sosefo Sikuri Inoke - National Alliance Manifesto Curriculum Vitae
Sosefo Kafoa- SDL
From Fijitimes Online (17 May 2006)
Rotuman MP will go with ruling party
THE new Rotuman Communal Member of Parliament, Jioji Konusi Konrote, said he would align himself with whichever party would be in power for the next five years.
Speaking after the announcement of his victory at Veiuto Primary School last night, he said he had worked under both Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry and Caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.
I have had the privilege of serving under these two leaders and it has been an honour for me but I had always mentioned that I will align myself with whatever party that would be in power, Mr Konrote said.
He said he had to align himself with the Government of the day because it would help with the development of Rotuma.
Mr Konrote said he was the lone MP for Rotumans and needed the support of those in power to help develop his island.
I had spoken to Mr Qarase when I came back from Australia earlier this year on the need for me to contest the elections and resign from my position as ambassador in Australia and he had given me his support.
Mr Konrote won the seat on the second count, bagging 2,539 votes while Victor Fatiaki had 1,348, Mua Taukave 548 and Sosefo Kafoa polled 531 votes.
Commissioner Eastern Tomasi Tui said out of the 4,736 ballot papers counted, there were 4,436 valid votes and 302 invalid ballots.
From ABC Asia Pacific (2 May 2006)
A candidate in Fiji's upcoming general elections is campaigning for more autonomy to be granted to the country's northernmost island of Rotuma.
Sosefo Inoke says the granting of more autonomy to the island will solve many of its peculiar problems, such as rundown schools and hospitals, irregular shipping and airline connections.
Mr Inoke believes Rotuma can be administered by an island authority, as is done with the Torres Islands in northern Australia.
He says he is not advocating secession for the Polynesian island.
"This is not breakaway talk, this is partnership together with government," he said.
"Involve our people, give us ownership, give us some control of our destiny, that's all we asking."
Mr Inoke says a lot of Rotuma Islanders have welcomed the idea.
The Suva-based lawyer is one of five men vying to be the island's member of parliament in Fiji's general elections that start on Saturday.
From Fijitimes Online (30 April 2006)
Race for Rotuma seat intensifies
The race for the single Rotuman seat up for grabs in the 2006 general elections in Fiji is heating up with all five candidates pledging to do more for Rotuma if elected into government.
Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party candidate Sosefo Kafoa said one of his first tasks would be to improve shipping service to the island from a monthly service to fortnightly interval.
He said he also wanted to improve the road conditions as well ensure that there was electricity in every village on the island.
National Alliance candidate Sosefo Inoke said the problem was that it did not have good governance.
He said the NAP had a formula for success for the people of Rotuma, which were peace, order and good governance.
The two were speaking at a rally organised by the Rotuman community in Suva.
Also present were Independent candidate Jioji Konrote and United General Party candidate Mua Taukave as well as outgoing Member of Parliament Marieta Rigamoto.
From Fijitimes Online (25 April 2006)
Change laws on Rotuma: Sosefo
DEVELOPMENT on Rotuma Island could only be undertaken if the laws governing the Rotuma Island Council and the land is changed, says National Alliance Party candidate Inoke Sosefo. [Note: This is an error; the candidate's name is Sosefo Inoke.]
Mr Sosefo, who is a lawyer by profession, made the comment after a campaign visit to Rotuma where he launched his manifesto in the seven districts there.
He said the Rotuma Act of 1882 and the Rotuma Lands Act of 1959 needed to be changed in order to facilitate proper development on the island.
The Rotuma Act spells out the roles and the extent of powers of the Rotuma Island Council while the Rotuma Lands Act is the legal framework for landowning rights on the island.
Mr Sosefo said development on Rotuma had been hindered by these two laws because the Lands Commission, which was to define land boundaries and owners and mediate over land disputes, had not existed since the law was enacted in 1959.
"I know these things because I am a lawyer and there are many land disputes that exist on the island but nothing can be done and many developments cannot be carried out because there is no commission in place.
"That is why we need to change these laws and try and involve the people of Rotuma in the development work needed for the island instead of just relying on government hand-outs," Mr Sosefo said.
He said Rotuma faced a lot of communications, transportation and environmental problems and Rotumans could not overcome the problems because the law prevented them from doing so.
From Fijitimes Online (18 April 2006)
Party outlines plans for Rotuma, Rabi
A POLITICAL party is hoping to develop the depressed economies of two islands located on the northern fringes of Fiji's boundary.
With the main goal of bringing about a positive change through development, the United Peoples Party has promised to carry out a substantial amount of projects on Rotuma and Rabi to ensure its people do not continue suffering in silence.
Party Leader, Mick Beddoes said the Government's Look-North Policy did not address the serious problems experienced by Fiji's northeastern communities.
However, Mr Beddoes said the projects they hope to implement within the next two years would improve the living standards and economies of Rotuma and Rabi.
He said with lack of regular transportation services as the main reason for the islands' lack of economic activity, they hoped to increase the number of flights to the area and opening up access to a new market source. Apart from the increase in flights, they hoped to improve the monthly shipping service to a bi-monthly one.
He said they hoped to immediately commence the upgrading of the airport at Rotuma at a cost of $4 million.
"The increased air and sea services can be subsidised so that costs to residents drop from the current levels of $600 for air to $450 and shipping from $118 to $88.50."
"The additional flights to the island would be provided to Tuvalu and back thus opening a new and regular market source for Rotuman produce."
"Incentives will be fixed for two years at a cost to government of $739,000 per annum and will phase out once the markets and returns on the suppliers of transportation have increased."He said for Rabi, they hoped to construct a jetty as soon as possible that would see regular shipping schedules that would enable the islanders to sell their produce.
From Fijitimes Online (11 April 2006)
For the Lau/Taveuni/Rotuma Open seat, the Rotuma Communal seat and the Lomaiviti Fijian provincial constituency there were five nominations each from independents and political parties.
From FijiVillage (11 April 2006)
Nine nominations were filed for the Rotuma Communal seat including ex-envoy and senior army officer Jioji Konrote. All nine candidates are contesting with the blessing of the Rotuma Council.
From Fijitimes Online (11 April 2006)
Call for State funds probe
POLITICAL parties and non-government organisations have criticised government's abuse of public funds for political campaigns.
The Pacific Centre for Public Integrity has called for an urgent investigation into the activities of caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's government for giving donations and using public funds ahead of the May General Election.
Centre director Angie Heffernan said Mr Qarase should explain why public funds were used to publish paid advertisements in a newspaper of his address to the Fiji Indigenous Business Council.
"It's unethical and an abuse of public funds, for the Government to be siphoning off public funds to campaign for the upcoming election," said Ms Heffernan.
She said with the election only a few weeks away, Mr Qarase could not justify the misuse of funds by saying it was part of government's work . . .
Opposition leader Mahendra Chaudhry said any form of influence in voting during a general election was an offence.
Mr Chaudhry said the Government should explain why about 40 boxes of supplies from a Suva hardware company were shipped to Rotuma over the weekend. "Having neglected Rotuma for the past five years, the SDL government is now trying to buy them off," he said.
But lawyer Richard Naidu said there were no rules that dictated how a caretaker Government spent public funds. Mr Naidu said in this case the Government was not in breach of any law because every government in power had the right to spend money allocated in the budget. But, he said, how the government spent that allocated fund was a matter of public debate.
From FijiVillage (10 April 2006)
FLP alleges vote buying by SDL
The Fiji Labour Party has today made serious allegations against the SDL Party, saying that it has been trying to buy votes in Rotuma.
FLP Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry is now calling on the caretaker government to explain why about 40 boxes of supplies from a Suva Hardware Company were shipped to Rotuma over the weekend.
Chaudhry claims that this is one of the SDL's vote buying scandals and the particular hardware company had featured largely in the 2001 Agriculture scam. The FLP leader also alleges that the caretaker government distributed brush cutters in Naitasiri a few weeks ago.
However contacted this afternoon, caretaker Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase said Chaudhry should stop misleading the people and concentrate on the elections.
From Fijitimes Online (3 April 2006)
Party has Rotuman chief's blessings
THE United Peoples Party has been allowed to campaign in Rotuma after the chiefs of the island gave their approval last week.
UPP president Mick Beddoes confirmed this yesterday after a three-day visit to the island last week where the UPP's candidate for the Rotuma Communal seat Mua Taukave was introduced to the people on the island.
Mr Beddoes and Mr Taukave made a presentation to the Rotuma Island Council after which they visited the various districts.
Mr Beddoes apologised to the people for not visiting them for the past five years.