The interim regime has pulled the plug on the fundraising or solevu for the Methodist Church of Fiji, earmarked for this Saturday.
While the Church has not received any official notification from the regime, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Neumi Leweni, has told the media that the solevu is being cancelled because of politics.
The solevu involves fundraising, choir competitions and divisional conferences, that have been organised after the Church decided to cancel its annual conference that was supposed to hosted by Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa at Lomanikoro, Rewa at the end of this month.
According to a disappointed Church Assistant General Secretary, Reverend Tevita Nawadra, the solevu is to be opened by the Fijian Methodist group from California and closed by a similar group from Australia. Members of both groups are believed to be already in Fiji.
The regime has now set its own conditions on the status of the Church Standing Committee saying it can only meet without the likes of Reverends Manasa Lasaro, Rev Tomasi Kanailagi, current President Rev Ame Tugaue, Secretary-General Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu and others who have been charged with breaching Public Emergency Regulations for allegedly inciting the Church membership to hold the annual conference. Ro Teimumu also faces similar charges.
On the 31st July, the Suva Magistrates Court had relaxed the bail conditions against the Church leaders, allowing them to attend all meetings of the Church including those of Standing Committee.
At that time this was seen as a trade-off by the regime for the cancellation of the annual conference. The message to cancel the conference was relayed to Ro Teimumu on August the 1st.
Whether or not the Church will defy the regime and go ahead with the solevu remains to be seen. Rev Nawadra has told Fiji Television news the solevu has been cancelled but members and groups are welcome to give funds thyhave raised at the Church headquarters in Suva.