Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says SODELPA MP, Mosese Bulitavu is not only showing his ignorance by putting forward harmful and dishonest ethnic stereotypes, which are racist, but Bainimarama says behind Bulitavu’s statements lurks a deeply seeded and deadly patriarchal mentality.
Bainimarama says he has been made aware of statements by Bulitavu, where he stereotyped Indo Fijian women as being promiscuous and made the ridiculous claim that Indo Fijian men are the only ones who use knives to commit acts of horrific violence against women.
The Prime Minister says Bulitavu went on to claim that iTaukei men only beat iTaukei women because they are bigger than them.
Bainimarama says worse, Bulitavu insinuated that iTaukei women should be thankful these beatings aren't carried out with weapons.
Bainimarama says Bulitavu has proven once again that he and his party are entirely incapable of seeing the complexity behind serious issues, like domestic violence in Fiji, and delivering solutions that address the real reasons for these societal ills.
The Prime Minister says domestic violence is not some new phenomena, nor was it brought to Fiji by any group.
He says it is an issue that is ‑ and has always been ‑ a direct result of patriarchal mindsets that see women as inferior and as objects to be abused at will.
Bainimarama says men don't commit abuse because they are a certain ethnicity and men don't commit abuse because they may be bigger or stronger.
He says men commit abuse because they are small‑minded and weak.
The Prime Minister says by hiding behind racist stereotypes rather than calling out the individuals who make the horrific choice to abuse their partners, Bulitavu has proven himself small‑minded as well.
SODELPA MP, Mosese Bulitavu
Bainimarama says since the start of his time as Prime Minister, he has taken every opportunity to denounce violence, in all forms, against all women.
He says he has called for a whole of society approach that addresses the root cause of this problem and helped lead real action to keep women and young girls safe from abuse.
But Bainimarama says statements, such as those from Bulitavu, jeopardise that entire national effort by entrenching our society in a vicious cycle of violence that excuses abusers and refuses to acknowledge the mentalities that fuel their reprehensible behaviour.
The Prime Minister says he won't tolerate it, and neither will the Fijian people.
He also says it's disheartening, yet unsurprising, that SODELPA's leadership has failed to condemn Bulitavu's reliance on racist stereotypes to cover for abusers in Fiji.
Bainimarama says since putting forward the backwards notion that some Fijians can be considered "vulagi" in their own country, SODELPA has proved themselves to be a party that endorses outright racism.
He says they are not a compassionate party and they are not leadership that listens.
Bainimarama says SODELPA is a party that constantly seeks to divide people along ethnic lines, along provincial lines and now along gender lines as well.
He says it's not lost on anyone that not a single member, including any women members, from any Opposition party has hit back against Bulitavu's ignorance as well.
Bainimarama says on an issue of this importance, their silence is just as damaging as the statements themselves.
He says for the sake of our women, our young girls and victims of domestic violence, he calls on all Fijians to join him in condemning Bulitavu's bigotry and racism and in condemning any political party which seeks to divide our people, excuse domestic violence and drag our society back into the past.