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Tabuya calls on party to ‘stand for fairness’ after being stripped of deputy leadership

Friday 8 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Fiji, Regional


Tabuya calls on party to ‘stand for fairness’ after being stripped of deputy leadership
Lynda Tabuya has called for fairness after her party stripped her of her deputy leadership. Picture: INSTAGRAM.

Fiji's Minister for Women and Children Lynda Tabuya is calling on The People's Alliance Party to "stand for fairness and justice" after it stripped her of her deputy leadership following allegations of a sex and drug scandal. The People's Alliance Party (PAP) announced earlier this week that Ms Tabuya had been removed over the allegations, which date back to August last year.

It is alleged that during a parliamentary study trip to Melbourne sponsored by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs, Fiji's then-education minister, Aseri Radrodro, had an affair with Ms Tabuya.

It's also alleged that drugs were involved during the trip. Both of the allegations have not been proven and Ms Tabuya has vehemently denied them.

In a statement, PAP said the "scandal and its associated allegations" had caused potentially irreparable damage to the party.

The PAP's executive council convened on Monday to discuss the allegations and Ms Tabuya's future, and by Tuesday, the party announced she was no longer deputy leader.

Ms Tabuya said in a written statement that while she respected the executive council's decision, she believed it was "unfair, as it is based solely on allegations which have been generated by opponents from outside the party".

"It is not a finding of guilt, and I am disappointed with the two lawyers in the legal and disciplinary sub committee who have based their recommendations on allegations published on social media which is aimed to weaken the Coalition and weaken the party," she said.

"It is a dangerous precedent to set that by applying the constitution of the party, they have based their decision to remove me as deputy party leader on allegations which they perceive as potentially causing damage.

"This comes as no surprise as these very same people opposed my appointment to be deputy party leader before the elections in 2022, so they have pounced on this opportunity to do so."

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka removed Mr Radrodro from his cabinet, but not because of the alleged scandal.

Instead, Mr Rabuka accused Mr Radrodro of insubordination for firing board members of Fiji's National University without his knowledge.

Mr Radrodro has not addressed the allegations of the alleged affair.

The head of Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre said on Thursday that Ms Tabuya's demotion within her political party was double standards at play.

Shamima Ali told Pacific Beat that Ms Tabuya was removed from her role over mere allegations, and said there had been virtually no punishment against the other minister allegedly involved.

"It is totally unacceptable, justice is not served … this is the targeting of a woman leader … who does not conform to the norm of how women behave," she said.

Ms Ali said Mr Rabuka needed to carefully consider the evidence before deciding on Ms Tabuya's future in the cabinet.