Rabuka stands firm on sacking decision – coalition at risk

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka
Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka . . . defiant over sacking of education minister. Image: Fiji Times

By Temalesi Vono in Suva

Fiji’s fired Education Minister Aseri Radrodro rebuffed three letters from the Prime Minister and legal advice from the Solicitor-General that led to his sacking as a cabinet minister, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka revealed yesterday.

Rabuka also said he wrote twice to the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Viliame Gavoka and met him once to discuss Radrodro’s non-compliance to his directives to reappoint members of the Fiji National University Council who he had sacked.

“I requested honourable Gavoka to urge the SODELPA Management Board to consider taking action to ensure the unlawful decisions outlined above, are rescinded, as it could invite serious legal consequences for the Coalition Government,” said Rabuka.

He added that Radrodro would cease to be minister from today.

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

Rabuka had announced the sacking of Radrodro for “insubordination and disobedience” via social media platform Facebook.

RNZ Pacific reports that Fiji’s three-party coalition government is at risk of collapse after just over 12 months in power following the dismissal of Radrodo, with calls for Rabuka to step down as prime minister.

Radrodro — who is one of three MPs from the kingmaker party, Sodelpa — told local media the sacking came as a surprise, saying he only received a letter of his dismissal after it had been announced on social media.

He told local media he was not sure if he remained an MP.

However, the Cabinet and Parliament are two separate institutions independent of each other and Radrodro remains a parliamentarian.

Aseri Radrodro
Sodelpa’s Aseri Radrodro . . . dimissed for “insubordination and disobedience”. Image: Republic of Fiji Parliament/RNZ Pacific

According to the Standing Orders, only Parliament can remove an MP either for disciplinary reasons through a process in Parliament as provided for in the Constitution or in any law or if an MP Member is expelled by his/her party, or he/she resigns from the party, under which the party formally informs the Speaker of such a resignation or expulsion.

Temalesi Vono is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission. This article is also republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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