Lynda Tabuya and Aseri Radrodro at the Victoria Parliament in Melbourne. August 2023 Photo: Victoria Parliament/240124112
Victoria University of Wellington Comparative Politics professor Jon Fraenkel said the management of Fiji is far more important than what he considers to be "private matters" between the Women's Minister Lynda Tabuya and sacked Education Minister Aseri Radrodro.
"Lynda Tabuya is a new
and extraordinary politician," Professor Fraenkel said, adding "She
was attacked straight away saying she didn't have the right dress sense."
Tabuya told RNZ Pacific the
allegations were "fake news". However, she is set to front an inquiry
into her alleged conduct by the People's Alliance Party.
"No one is above the law
and if I have breached a provision of the [party] constitution, I have the
right to defend myself," she told The Fiji Times.
Radrodro has refrained from
commenting on the allegations at all.
Professor Fraenkel said women
in politics were often unfairly targeted on social media far more than their
"These are the stars of
Fiji politics. They should be criticised on how they perform their ministerial
duties not all these other things. It's a breath of fresh air for Fiji that
they are there.
"I think we should
concentrate on her competence as a minister and not her private business,"
However, despite the scandal
and the sacking of the key member of Cabinet, the Deputy Prime Minister Biman
Prasad played down concerns that government was crumbling.
Prasad, refusing to comment on
the alleged affair, said that despite some changes to government the
three-party coalition remains "strong".
Professor Fraenkel said the
Fijian government should be "celebrated" for its co-governance of
indigenous and Indo-Fijian parties working together.
On the issue of Radrodro's
dismissal, he said the prime minister "had to make a lot of concessions to
keep Sodelpa on board".
But he believes coalition
leaders were on the same page concerning axing of Radrodro.
"There have been
continual disagreements between [Radrodro] and the Prime Minister. There was an
attempted re-shuffle in August last year," he said.
"He'd be foolish not to
do that. Rabuka is not a fool. He is a very astute politician."
Radrodro was removed as
Cabinet minister last Friday by Rabuka, who said he failed to follow his
But Radrodro rebuffed the
allegations on Monday and demanded Rabuka rescind his decision.