Lynda Tabuya fights back – ‘it’s unfortunate that as a woman I continue to be targeted’

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Fiji Women's Minister Lynda Tabuya
Fiji Women's Minister Lynda Tabuya . . . the party must stand for fairness and justice. Image: RNZ

By Finau Fonua, RNZ Pacific journalist

Fiji’s Women’s Minister Lynda Tabuya says the decision by the People’s Alliance executive council to remove her as deputy leader of the governing party is “unfair as it is based solely on allegations . . . generated by opponents from outside the party”.

Tabuya, who has been at the centre of an alleged sex and drug scandal with the sacked Education Minister Aseri Radrodro, was removed from the position on Monday.

According to the People’s Alliance, the scandal and associated allegations involving Tabuya had caused “potentially irreparable damage” to the party.

However, in a statement to RNZ Pacific today, Tabuya said she was “disappointed with the two lawyers in the legal and disciplinary subcommittee who have based their recommendations on allegations published on social media which is aimed to weaken the Coalition and weaken the party”.

“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,” she said.

“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.

“It’s most unfortunate that as a woman I continue to be targeted with my removal last year as leader of government business and now as deputy party leader.”

She said the party must stand for fairness and justice and applying the law equally based on evidence and facts, not allegations

RNZ Pacific has contacted the People’s Alliance general secretary for comment.

Reaction expected
The publisher of Grubsheet, Graham Davis, who first reported — along with Fijileaks — about the scandal involving Tabuya and Radrodro, said Tabuya was attempting to “muddy the waters” with her reaction.

“It is telling that Lynda Tabuya doesn’t directly address the allegations against her that the PAP executive council has found to be proven on the recommendation of its disciplinary committee — including at least two lawyers — after a detailed examination of the evidence first reported by Fijileaks and Grubsheet,” he told RNZ Pacific.

“To turn her fire on the PAP in a vain attempt to muddy the waters is to be expected.”

Meanwhile, Tabuya remains a cabinet minister despite being removed as PAP deputy party leader.

According to the Fiji Sun newspaper, only Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka can remove her from cabinet, as per the 2013 Constitution.

“The Fiji Sun has been reliably informed that the PM is seeking legal opinion before making his call,” the newspaper reported.

Rabuka is currently on official travel in Australia.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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