Unity Fiji named 14 provisional candidates yesterday for the 2018 General Election. Most are new to the political arena.
Mereia Raikuru Rasiga, for instance, is a nurse by profession. She was inspired to stand after she returned to Lawaki Settlement where she spent most of her childhood.
She acknowledged her late uncle and aunt, who were determined to put her through school and later nursing school despite the many challenges they faced.
“I believe politics is linked to our everyday lives. Decisions made by our political leaders affect everything that we do,” Ms Rasiga said.
Her decision to enter politics came naturally. She’s an active community worker not only in Lawaki Settlement, but for other organisations as well. She is a facilitator at the USP-Lautoka Branch-Care giving Course and Nurse Co-ordinator for FRIENDS Fiji.
At the provisional candidate announcement held at Nawaka Village, party leader Savenaca Narube said there had been a plea for change in their consultations across Fiji.
“We must change to something better, something that unites us not divide us, something that takes us forward not backward, something that improves our lives not burden our future generation and something that directly benefits our everyday lives,” he said.
“I feel strongly of the legacy that we must leave our children and grandchildren. This is a heavy responsibility that we must not take lightly. This election gives us the only opportunity to make these changes.”
These are the 14 provisional candidates, including Ms Rasiga, announced yesterday:
Savenaca Narube is Unity Fiji leader. He is from Cuvu Village, Nadroga. He was the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji and Permanent Secretary for Finance. He is now a private consultant in economic, public finance and monetary management working mainly with the ADB, World Bank and the IMF.
Ratu Asaeli Driubalavu Naevo is the Tui Nawaka. He is widely respected in the Western Division and across the country. He was instrumental in the establishment of Unity Fiji, especially in mobilising the support of the Party in the Western Division.
Satish Kumar is the General Secretary of Unity Fiji. He is originally from Wainikoro in Labasa. He is an executive committee member of the Arya Prathinidhi Sabha of Fiji and a Commissioner for Oaths. He runs his own business.
Liga Gukisuva is from Vanuavatu, Lau. He is a business owner and marketing PR expert. He worked for Vodafone, Fiji FA and BLK and is popular in the Fijian community with his radio breakfast show.
Tomasi Wainiqolo Vakatora is an accountant by profession. He is from Naivilaca, Noco, Rewa. He has served in senior executive positions in corporate organisations in Fiji including the CEO of ATH. He was a director in several companies, including FINTEL, TFL and Vodafone.
Aliki Turagakula is an agriculturist and served in various capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture. He is from Nacokaika Village in Naitasiri and is a former chairman of the Naitasiri Provincial Council.
Ashwen Gibson Blake has a background in hospitality, publishing, training and is a pioneer in whole-man development and life-span learning. Ashwen is committed to giving Fijians a credible voice and presence where decisions are made on the people’s behalf.
Jope Kavoa is a fisheries expert having retired from government as a principal fisheries officer. He worked in many divisions in Fiji. He is from Tavualevu Village and resides in Lautoka.
Manasa Konataci is from Nasukamai Village in Ra province. His experience is in the field of telecommunications. He worked in FINTEL and led its trade union.
Ratu Mosese Turagaduadua is a retired soldier of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. He is from Naimasimasi Village in Tailevu. Ratu Mosese is active in community work for his village and Tikina of Vugalei.
Ratu Jope Naucabalavu Sukanaveita, 28, is from Lomanikoro in the district of Bau.
Ratu Isoa Tubuna hails from Matainoco Village in the district of Buretu, province of Tailevu.
Rusiate Tuisovivi is from Naimalavau Village, Nakelo, in the province of Tailevu. A secondary school teacher, he later pursued a career in the IT field setting up new IT systems for Rewa Dairy as well as the Land Transport Authority.
Photo: Unity Fiji