Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Constitution guides my actions: Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the Constitution guides his action to dismiss Education Minister Aseri Radrodro and he remains committed to upholding its principles.

In his national address on the matter today, Rabuka said Section 95 of the Constitution is very clear on the powers of the Prime Minister to appoint and dismiss Cabinet Ministers.

“It is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister.”

“Therefore, the Employment Relations Act is not relevant at all. However, the principles of natural justice were adhered to and Hon. Radrodro was given every opportunity to explain himself yet failed to respond to correspondence from me on the matter.”

“Furthermore, the SODELPA Party Leader, Hon. DPM Gavoka was fully informed of the action I took on the matter.”

He said the Social Democratic Liberal Party’s (SODELPA) Working Committee instruction for Radrodro to remain in office until 26 January is in defiance of the powers conferred on the Prime Minister under section 95(3)(a) of the Constitution.

Rabuka said he is also advised that the instruction may also be in breach of the SODELPA Constitution given that it is only the Management Board that gives directives to its Members of Parliament, and not the Working Committee.

“Hon. Radrodro’s dismissal is effective 22/1/24, and from that date, he may no longer exercise the powers and privileges of the Minister for Education. Hon. Gavoka assumes the Education portfolio as of that date.”

“However, Hon. Radrodro may attend his former office to remove his personal items and Hon. Gavoka may request him for a handover-briefing on his return from official travel.”

“I have noted remarks made by the SODELPA working committee on 20/1/24. I respect the party’s commitment to its MPs and adherence to the SODELPA Constitution. However, Political Party by-laws are made under the Political Parties Act.”

Rabuka said the Act requires that Parties and their officials must comply with Fiji’s Constitution, the supreme law.

“SODELPA officials must also ensure that the working committee does not exceed its mandate in purporting to exercise powers of the management board as set out in its constitution.”

“I understand SODELPA’s perspective on the matter, and I assure the public that the decision to dismiss Hon. Radrodro was made after careful consideration of all relevant factors.”

“As we move forward, I urge all parties involved to conduct themselves with respect for due process and the rule of law.”

“The progress of our great nation depends on our collective commitment to the rule of law and democratic values enshrined in our Constitution,” he concluded.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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