‘Tickets being offered to me’

Shamima Ali (let) of FWCC at a joint press conference with FRIENDS Fiji in Suva, on Tues 10 May 2022. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Women’s rights advocate Shamima Ali says she has no intention of standing for this year’s election.

She made her intention clear following an outburst from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that Ms Ali hoped to secure a National Federation Party ticket at this year’s polls.

“As I said, I don’t tell lies,” Ms Ali said. “And now they’re saying I’m looking for a ticket. I don’t have to look for tickets, tickets are being offered to me.

“The tickets come to me and I must say I do a better job outside Parliament, especially in my role of holding everyone accountable and being accountable myself.”

The Prime Minister said in a news report Ms Ali could only speak from a neutral standpoint if she stopped associating herself with political parties and being their mouthpiece under the guise of NGO activism. Ms Ali said the PM’s comments were simply victimisation and an attempt to tell people to shut up, particularly women.

“Having led an organisation that has such credibility for 37 years, you know of my life, and coming out as a leader in the community for having advocacy, not only with this government and that’s what they fail to understand,” she said.

“It’s every successive government. The Qarase government and the Rabuka government had problems with us because it is our job to hold people accountable and that’s what an NGO like us does.

“It is within the framework of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and we are legally registered as such. We need to speak out because we need to keep the spaces open so women’s rights can thrive, everybody’s rights can thrive.”

Ms Ali also labelled the comments by the PM as “sexism” because it’s a woman speaking out. However, she said, they would continue to speak out and hold leaders accountable.

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