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The National Federation Party confirms that registered voters who are Party Members have filed objections against two candidates from Fiji First.

They are Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Mereseini Vuniwaqa

Mereseini Vuniwaqa was the Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice from January 2012 until her resignation in March 2013. In that capacity, Mrs Vuniwaqa was responsible for elections and performed the functions of the Supervisor of Elections under the State Services Decree 2009 that amended Section 24 (2) (5) of the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree 2012 that state: –

“Until such time the Supervisor of Elections is appointed by the President under this section, the functions of the Supervisor of Elections shall be exercised by the Permanent Secretary responsible for elections”.

Mrs Vuniwaqa is therefore barred from standing for elections for a period of four years from her last date of employment under Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution ie after March 2017.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum nomination is also in breach of Section 57(2) of the 2013 Constitution and Section 23 (4) (e) of the Electoral Decree 2014, as he was exercising the role of the Electoral Commission until it was taken over by the Permanent Secretary responsible for elections in September 2013 following the promulgation of the Constitution under Section 170 (5).

The State Services Decree was amended by the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree 2013 by inserting a new sub-section (24 (1) (2)(g) that states:

“Until such time as members of the Electoral Commission are appointed by the President, the functions of the Electoral Commission shall be performed and the powers of the Electoral Commission shall be exercised by the Minister Responsible for Elections”.

Mr Khaiyum is therefore barred from standing for elections for a period of four years i.e. after September 2017 under Section 57(1) of the Constitution.

In the circumstances, we believe that that both Mereseini Vuniwaqa and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are ineligible to be nominated as candidates in the September 17 elections.

Kamal Iyer

General Secretary


NFP Candidates that have withdrawn

Due to alterations made to the electoral decree, these candidates were unfortunately forced to withdraw;

1. Makereta Waqavonovono    



“I am concerned about the fragile state of the rule of law in Fiji and how our legal system has been undermined.”

Makereta Waqavonovono has a wealth of knowledge, experience and commitment to the law and democracy in Fiji.

What This Election Means To YOU: A return to good governance, transparent and accountable government government which looks after the concerns of all citizens.

Passion for Change: To be part of a new leadership in our country that puts in place measures to make sure we never have to encounter unlawful takeovers.

Profession: A lawyer with more than 25 years of work in various areas of law in Australia, Fiji and Solomon Islands.

Career Highlights: Legal Advisor to the Forum Secretariat, Resident Magistrate in Lautoka and Suva, headed Fiji Legal Aid Commission and Senior Advisor in the Solomon Islands Public Solicitor’s Office (2012).

Qualifications: Arts degree from the University of the South Pacific, Law Degree from the University of New South Wales and a Master’s of Law, Governance and Development from the Australian National University (2013).

Detailed Profile

Makereta is new to national politics but brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and commitment to the law and democracy. She is a consultant lawyer who has worked more than 25 years in various areas of law and other disciplines in Australia, Fiji and Solomon Islands. She is concerned about the fragile state of the rule of law in our country and how our legal system has been undermined in recent years, and is interested in pursuing social and gender justice.

Makareta, now in her 50’s lives in Suva where she was born when her late parents came from Lau to seek a better life in Suva. They were hard working and understood and taught her well the value of education and hard work. Makareta’s father completed primary education and worked in the “native” administration; as a Fijian Magistrate before becoming an Assistant Roko serving in various provincial and rural districts in Fiji. Her mother was not formally educated but supplemented the extended family income by selling handicrafts to tourists in Suva market. Makareta has three surviving older sisters and a younger brother, and numerous nieces and nephews who keep her abreast with younger generational issues!

After schooling at Dudley Primary and Adi Cakobau, Makareta said she was fortunate in being given opportunities to pursue further education to do a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the South Pacific, then at the University of New South Wales in Australia where she did a Bachelor of Laws degree, and more recently a Master of Laws degree in Law, Governance and Development at the Australian National University.

Before going to Australia to study in 1982, Makareta worked as a researcher on social, gender and development issues at USP and for a Pacific women’s non government organisation. After gaining a law degree she worked in the Lands Department and Crown Solicitor’s Office in Sydney for five years and returned to Fiji to be legal advisor to the Forum Secretariat before moving into private practice. From 1996 she worked for seven years as a Resident Magistrate in Lautoka and Suva, presiding over civil, criminal and family cases and conducting court circuits in other semi-urban and rural districts in Fiji. Her career in the judiciary was interrupted by the coups of 2000 and 2006 when she became convinced she could not continue with the then administrations. She has also worked as Director for the Legal Aid Commission and as Senior Legal Advisor in the Solomon Islands Public Solicitor’s Office for over eight years.

Makareta was the first female elected to be the vice president of the USP Students Association in 1976. She has served in various boards and committees for the Fiji YWCA, Fiji Broadcasting Commission, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and the Fiji/NZ Education Trust. While in Australia she was very active in the Fiji pro democracy movement. She is interested in making ordinary people more aware of their legal and human rights and the avenues for redress and measures to ensure there is respect for the law by all citizens and that the laws are accessible and apply equally to every citizen. Makareta would like to see a more peaceful and non-militarised Fiji that promotes economic opportunities for all and wants to be involved in the equal development of women and men in our communities.

2. Jone Vakalalabure


“I am concerned with the rule of law, parliamentary democracy and freedom of human rights.”


Jone Vakalalabure, 40, is a trusted man of the village with a Masters degree in International Relations and a particular interests in governance and social justice.

Career: From a Savusavu farming family, he has worked in health and development administration and facilitation for regional and international organisations including the UN. Most recently was a monitoring and evaluations specialist with the Pacific Leadership Program, and is also chairperson of village trust funds. He understands the struggles of rural communities because of his experiences as a student during tough times.

 Leadership: Serving the people first to bring about developmental leadership for policy and institutional reforms for the public good and striving for good academic debate and participation in a well respected environment for developmental change.

Aims: Firstly to repair the economy because it is the single biggest factor affecting people every day.

Passion: For democracy and liberating people to realise their full potential.

Detailed Profile

Jone Vakalalabure is a trusted man of the village with a Masters degree in International Relations from La Trobe University in Australia and a particular interests in governance and social justice in Fiji, and Middle Eastern and Asian geopolitics.

He was born in Savusavu 40 years ago into a farming family. He attended Labasa College and then went to university in Melbourne. His career has taken him to the Fiji Red Cross as health and care coordinator, as Program Specialist in the Joint United Nations Program for HIV/AIDS, as a climate change and development facilitator with the UN Development Program, and most recently as monitoring and evaluations specialist with the Pacific Leadership Program until deciding to stand for election. He is also chairperson of village trust funds.

Jone Vakalabure is standing for election because he wants to help bring back the rule of law, parliamentary democracy and freedom of human rights. He chose to stand with NFP because as the oldest party in Fiji, it has stood through the best and worst of times without losing its focus or its principles, and has demonstrated solidarity, inclusiveness, cohesiveness and unity.

For him, parliamentary leadership is about serving the people first to bring about developmental leadership for policy and institutional reforms for the public good. He brings to this a good background and perspectives of struggling in the rural community. He understands about having to work his way through tough times to achieve good academic qualifications and work experience covering not only in Fiji but in the region and internationally. It is this lifelong experience that he wants to give back as a learning to the younger generation. He continually strives for good academic debate and participation in a well respected environment for developmental change. The first thing he plans to do in parliament is to repair the economy because it is the single biggest factor affecting people every day. He feels people can trust their vote to him because he has demonstrated that he can work hard, persevere, has knowledge and passion for democracy and liberating people to realise their full potential.

Jone likes keeping fit and going hiking and camping, and is a bachelor dad to a five year old son.

On the campaign trail


On the campaign trail last night in the Central Division, which included Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad academic Dr Adi Eci Kikau Nabalarua, women’s advocate, Fay Volatabu and trade unionists Pramod Rae and Attar Singh.

NFP announces four new candidates

Four more candidates were named today by Fiji’s National Federation Party, bringing to 49 the number of candidates the party has named so far for the 2014 General Elections.

Named today were Savusavu businesswoman Kalesi Ratuwara, Small Business consultant Anshu Lata from Labasa, retired school teacher Etonia Lote and 23-year-old lawyer Anishni Chand.

The party remains firm on plans to submit 50 nominations to the Fijian Elections Office next Monday for accreditation for the forthcoming election.They are expected to name their 50th candidate tomorrow.

Read more at:
Copyright 2014 ©

NFP announces four new candidates

The National Federation Party has today announced four candidates for the September 17 general elections.

This brings the total number of candidates to 49 for the general elections. Our 50th candidate will be revealed tomorrow.

They are: –

  1. Kalisi Rarawa Makaba Ratuwara

Kalisi Ratuwara, oroginaly from Savusavu, is currently managing a small business in migration, small tour operations and New Zealand study recruitment. She has been engaged in this business for the past 7 years.

At the same time she is enhancing her education by continuing fulltime studies for her law degree at the University of Fiji. She is the treasurer of Uni Fiji’s Law Society as well as Secretary of Suva Cruise Ship Small Tour Operators.

Kalisi is a firm believer in the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, freedom and human rights.

She has decided to contest the elections under NFP’s banner because she believes that as Fiji’s oldest political party, the NFP is genuinely multiracial and has not shirked its principles which are our enduring values.

  1. Anshu Lata

 Anshu Lata, originally, from Labasa, is a Consultant and Market Researcher organising events focusing on talent development, environment and women.

For the last 4 years Miss Lata has been a consultant for Small and Medium Enterprises for Women. From 2011 to 2013 she was National Director for Miss Earth Carousel Productions Ltd.

Miss Lata was also the consultant/artistic director for a project on diabetes awareness for the USP, International Foundation for diabetes awareness, University of  Arizona and the Health Ministry.

She has been involved in beauty paegents, both as a consultant and as a judge.

  1. Etonia Lote

 Mr Etonia Lote is a retired school teacher and possesses a Bachelor of Education from USP. His teaching career last for 24 years. Mr Lota hails from Lomaiviti.

More importantly, Mr Lote is the author of NA MOLI KOULA., a textbook used in Year 9 till Year 13 Vosa Vakaviti classes. He has visited secondary schools throughout the country over the last four years to talk about his publications.

Mr Lote is also the founder of DOKIDOKI band. His three sons are currently performing for the Band. Mr Lote therefore is a extremely talented person – an educationist, author and a musician.

  1. Anishini Chand

 Anishini Chand , at 23 years of age, is our youngest  candidate in these elections.

She is a lawyer and her work experience includes working for the Fiji Commerce Commission, Reddy Nandan Lawyers and a Senior Peer Mentor for law at USP.

Miss Chand has decided to contest the elections under the NFP banner to educate the people of Fiji about their future. She believes the three arms of government should start functioning as separate entities, that is the legislative, judicial and executive arms.

Most importantly, Miss Lata wants to end dictatorship that has plagued this country for the last 8 years.


Ram wants to lift living standards

A NATIONAL Federation Party candidate wants to lift the living standards of ordinary Fijians by promoting healthy lifestyle and wellness if he wins a seat in parliament.

Dr Bijend Prasad Ram said this would be done through inclusiveness and open education, including on healthy aging with him being the brain behind charity trust he founded, the ACATA Fiji — an action group for children and the aged.

He has been a doctor for about 36 years and a specialist in Community Medicine and Public Health, having served in the civil service for 21 years holding various positions and working in the remotest of places.

He is also the initiator and founding member of the Fiji Kidney Foundation, with the list of his qualifications and achievements being quite lengthy.

He was awarded the 25th Anniversary of Independence Medal for service to Fiji in 1995.

Dr Ram contested the 1999 and 2001 general election for the NFP but unfortunately lost in both and he reminisced when the country went on tangential path to coups and setbacks.

However, this time he is optimistic of winning, saying “the winds of change are blowing around and the health of our nation must change for the better”.

“If I win, then I will pursue policy changes on health, education, ecological and environmental conservation and sustenance programs,” he said.

“I will work in the best interest of the populace and their basic rights through just and a honest governance structure.”

Dr Ram said he would pursue the empowerment of Fijians for self-determination, participation for their individual and community livelihood and security in food, housing, gainful employment and health.

He said support was good and these last few weeks in the countdown to September 17 would be tough with the final round of campaigning across the country.

Avinesh Gopal

The Fiji Times

Monday, August 11, 2014

VAT reduction not bad thing says USP head of economics



By: Mika Loga – FIJI ONE NEWS – MONDAY AUGUST 11, 2014

As the debate on Value Added Tax rages on, at least one economist says, it is still possible to further reduce VAT on essential items not in the list of controlled items by the Commerce Commission.

The University of the South Pacific’s head of of economics, Professor Satya Pau says, a reduction could still be beneficial to both consumers and the government.

USP academic Professor Satya Paul shares his views on VAT as debate on the issue heats up leading into the polls.

“This tax is not pro poor. It doesn’t help the poor because everybody pays the same tax. It’s not a progressive tax as it is a regressive tax,” says Pofessor Pau.

There are some items where VAT are charged and the retail prices are fixed by the Commerce Commission.

These are referred to on supermarket shelves as controlled priced.

Certain political parties have proposed a reduction in VAT to 10 percent.

This has resulted in strong debate amongst political parties.

“You reduce 15% to that case, it doesn’t mean one does mean the revenue will decline by one third because when you reduce the price, the commodities become cheaper, people demand more, they spend more and the Government collect more taxes at 10%. This is the logic of bringing it to 10 percent,” says Professor Pau.

Another political party has proposed other ways of resolving VAT by subsidising the prices of an approved list of VAT free basic items.

“I dont think think this will do it, they should bring it to 10% or 11% whatever the fugure is consensus to the whole of Fiji. Then the Government can increase the income tax a little say around 20%,” added the USp head of economics.

There are certain items however, that are not scrutinised by the Commerce Commission. They include some canned goods which are essential food items in almost every home.

Either way, it will be a balancing act for any Government when it comes to taxes on basic food items.

“In this case the Government has to be very careful which are the items coming very cheap, in that case Government can impose some of the taxes on the imported goods so that the domestic market becomes stronger,” says Professor Pau.

On the street, the views differ.

“Governmment should reduce the price of the items because the income is so less, the things are going up,” said one consumer.

“As I see it, the prices of items this week are still the same. They are still sold at reasonable prices..people like me can afford it,” said another consumer.

Whatever the proposed political solutions are to VAT, ultimately it’s consumers who will decide how it impacts their pockets.


NFP outraged at extent of environmental destruction in Kavula, Bua under Bainimarama administration

Environmental protection, robust environmental safeguards and Free, Prior and Informed Consent in development projects will be a priority of an NFP Government and there will be an end to administrative technicalities that undermine the food and human security of people in Fiji said Seni Nabou, the NFP spokesperson for the environment.

“The Fiji Times story highlighting the environmental travesty in Bua is both deeply concerning and outrageous ” said Nabou.

“It is all too convenient for the roadworks sub-contractor JJ Gravel Extractor and the Acting Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu to sidestep the issue and lay blame on the Environment Department and landowners for granting their approval when it is common knowledge that most of these projects are being driven top-down and the EIA processes are merely rubber-stamping what this administration wants”, added Nabou.

Nabou asserts that while national development is welcome, it should be not be at a cost to the people who depend on their immediate natural surroundings especially where food security is concerned. “This is why proper and robust EIA processes and allow for public oversight as destruction to one ecosystem has ripple effects to other areas,” said Nabou.

Nabou adds that Free, Prior and Informed Consent for landowners in all development projects are a priority of an NFP Government and that all development decisions under the Bainimarama administration that have sacrificed the environment and the people who depend on it will be reviewed and that appropriate sanctions put in place.

The NFP is calling on the Bainimarama administration to put in place a moratorium to gravel extraction until the rest of the EIA process is properly effected, scientific assessments of the environmental damage made public and compensation for landowners negotiations started immediately.

Seni Nabou

NFP spokesperson on Information, Media, Communications and Environment.


Phone: 9922053

NFP condemns lack of consultation and inclusiveness in the decision to hold Women’s Expo

Lack of consultation with women’s organizations will be a thing of the past if the NFP wins the elections.

The recent women’s expo held in Suva is indicative of unilateral decision-making between the Ministry of Women and women’s NGOs. This continues to be an issue with women’s organizations in the last couple of years as the Ministry of Women has continuously sidelined women advocacy groups in all its activities and decisions despite their years of valid credibility on this front.

“Dr Jiko Luveni has not respected the national structures and machinery of decision-making with women’s groups but has chosen instead to deal with individual women’s organizations and even individuals who have benefitted from the programs of the ministry of women. These divide and rule tactics will stop and women will truly be consulted in all decisions regarding women in an NFP Government.” said Fay Volatabu the party spokesperson for Women, Peace and National Reconciliation.

“The Ministry of Women was set up by the pioneers of National Council of Women Fjii (NCW Fiji) and the Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Taukei (SSV) to be the voice of women in parliament but in recent years the Ministry under Dr Luveni’s leadership has not been liaising with women’s NGOs choosing instead to undermine these structures”, added Volatabu.

Volatabu adds that if women’s progress is to be truly representative and reflective of all women then all umbrella organizations have to be consulted by the ministry as partners in all it’s programs as well as in the compilation of statistics in their research and reports.

On Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, the National Federation Party has committed in its manifesto to:

  • promote gender equality in access to productive resources, economic opportunity and decision making at all levels contributes to higher economic productivity and wellbeing for all;
  • commit stronger initiatives to gender equality for women in Fiji because despite some progress they still have less access than men to policy decision making, employment and productive assets;
  • commit to gender aware public policy and reforms to achieve gender equality to promote more rapid development;
  • reform existing policies and programs to strengthen the voice and participation of women in households, communities and in society, including in local government, on boards and other levels of governance; and
  • primarily concentrate on five pillars for achieving gender equality and empowerment of women:

(i)    reduce gender based violence,

(ii)  strengthen women’s endowments and economic opportunities

(iii)strengthen the legal and institutional environment,

(iv)transform social norms and practices and

(v)  take measures to enable women’s participation in the policy domain by creating space for women’s collective action.


Fay Volatabu

NFP spokesperson on Women, Peace and National Reconciliation.


Phone: 9163693

Two Lawyers Join NFP

Two lawyers have joined the National Federation Party to contest the September 17 general elections under the NFP banner.

The latest inclusion of both lawyers brings to 45 the number of candidates announced so far to contest the elections. This number would have been 48 had not been for the Electoral Amendment Decree’s definition of “ordinarily resident”.

On Tuesday two of the Party’s prominent candidates Makereta Waqavonovono and Jone Vakalalabure had to withdraw their candidacy as a result of the decree. Former national rugby union representative and former teacher Seru Rabeni stepped aside after being endorsed and slated for announcement on Tuesday for the same reason.

The candidates announced today are: –

1               Semi Titoko

Simi Titoko outside

Born in Nalawa Ra, Semi Titoko is a lawyer operating the firm of Qarcia Barristers & Solicitors at Vaileka.

Mr Titoko was employed in the Judiciary for 8 years between 1992 and 2000. He worked in Nadi and Suva Magistrates Court and the High Court at Lautoka.

He was then a private law student at the University of the South Pacific between 2003 and 2008. He has been practicing as a lawyer since 2009.

Mr Titoko has been approached by the chiefs of Ra to be the voice of Ra people in Parliament. The chiefs have endorsed his decision to contest the elections under the NFP’s banner.

Mr Titoko is eager to be part of Team NFP for the future of Fiji.

2.         Siddiq Faizal Koya

Inside Faizal Koya

Siddiq Faizal Koya, born in Lautoka but now a resident of Nadi, is a barrister and solicitor with Siddiq Koya Lawyers.

Mr Koya graduated with an Honours Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton in United Kingdom. He also served as a magistrate.

Mr Koya has a record of service; as the legal advisor to the Rotary Club of Nadi, Speaker of Fiji Muslim League and Speaker of MA’natul Islam Association. He takes keen interest in youth and sports development and is a strong advocate against animal cruelty.

He believes that authoritarian government anywhere in the world is not good governance and that educated young people need to take the nation forward in contrast to those leaders who have polarized the nation on various issues.

His father, Siddiq Moidin Koya, was one of the founders of NFP in 1963 as Deputy leader to A D Patel. Mr Koya succeeded Mr Patel as NFP leader after Mr Patel’s death in October 1969 and also took over responsibility of negotiating Fiji’s Independence from Great Britain together with Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.