Showing posts from April 12, 2009

(o+) Ratu Epeli Nailatikau New Vice-President

The Fiji Village headline "Bainimarama Takes Vacant Portfolios"  none-too-subtely inferred Bainimarama was making another presumed grab for power.  But the "vacant portfolios" were  Ratu Epeli Nailatikau's who could no longer hold them because he had been appointed Vice-President. The article was about him, not Bainimarama!  Fiji Live and Fiji Times on-line reports on the appointment were notable for what they did not say. Media bias is not always open and obvious; inference and omission can be just as effective .
Yet Wikipedia could report, within minutes, the appointment of  Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, LVO, OBE, MSD, OStJ,  former supreme military commander deposed  by Rabuka's 1987 coup; former diplomatic representative to the UK and Pacific Island states; former Speaker of the House under Qarase (2001-06); former candidate for PM after the Speight coup he opposed; and post-2006 minister of several important portfolios. In addition to his dipl…

(o+) Dealing with the Dictator: Highly Recommended Commentary*

*Graham Davis is a Fiji-born journalist living in Australia. I think he's done a remarkably good job summmarising the main issues in the present situation; in tracing its roots back to earlier coups and before (with interesting comments on Bainimarama's background, personality and clumsy diplomatic skills);  and in offering ideas about what can now be done. To read his article in full, click on The Australian or the Fiji stuckinthemudblog.
Here are the first two paragraphs of his article-----
"Like many military leaders before him, Frank Bainimarama can be autocratic, stubborn, wilful, obstinate and disdainful of the traditional nuances of civilian politics. He may also be the best hope, albeit in five years' time, of a democratic Fiji for all its citizens and not just the amply endowed indigenous majority. If that seems a ludicrous proposition when constitutions are being abrogated and the media proscribed, it's time to consider some basic truths that seem to ha…

(o) The Presidential Decrees and Related Matters: Brief Comments and Links

Fiji's Four CoupsFor those wanting a full introduction to Fiji's four coups, and commentary on the last one, listen to two recorded interviews byMosese Waqa in Australia. You will need QuickTime player installed.

The President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has signed a number of decrees to replace the abrogated 1997 Constitution that cannot be legally questioned until there are democractic elections held in accordance of a new Constitution. Most decrees concern his Executive Authority (as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, and his power to appoint a Prime Minister and other ministers); and laws "for the peace, order and good government of Fiji." All laws existing before the Appeals Court decision, other than those related to the 1997 Constitution, will continue in force. To read the decrees, click here.

Bainimarama has been reappointed PM along with his former ministers. Most senior civil service appointments have been renewed. All State offices have reopened and most office…

The Emergency Situation

I have spent much of the past few days reading and listening to news and opinions about the situation in Fiji, and have decided to wait further developments before adding my own opinions other than to say ..........
Most of what I've read and heard, though understandable, seems poorly considered, and the extreme and provocative  comments - by Baledrokadroka, Michael Field, one of the Australian judges, and some of the anonymous bloggers - must be condemned for adding fuel to what could develop into a highly dangerous situation.  
I think it important to recall earlier emergency regulations that were  heavily applied when first announced, but eased back as authorities became  better placed to assess the situation.  
Let us hope this will be the case again. That will be the time  for reasoned comment -- and some release of present frustrations . Meanwhile, the fewer inflammatory comments, the better. 
"God Bless Fiji".

Links: Court Judgment, President's Speech, Fiji and International Reactions

See also my initial comments on the post below    What On Earth Did the Court Expect?        (The symbols are explained in "Notices" at the bottom of this page.) 
(B) Court of Appeal Decision

(B) President's Address to the Nation

(B) Bainimarama's Reappointment Speech
(G) The "New" Cabinet

(-) Graham Leung - a lawyer's reaction

(+) Shaista Shameem - FHRC

(o-) Mahendra Chaudhry's Reaction

(-) SDL and FNP Reactions

(+) Chamber of Commerce Reaction

(-) Brij Lal…

(+) What On Earth Did the Court Expect?

I would have preferred a few days to reflect on Friday's developments but given that others are not disposed to do so, I add my thoughts for consideration.
Leave aside for the moment  the rights and wrongs of events on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th April 2009: the Appeal Court's decision that the President's appointment of the Interim Government in 2007 was unlawful; Bainimarama's apparent acceptance of the decision; the President's abrogation of the Constitution, and the reappointment of the Interim Government, together with decrees dismissing the judiciary and limitations on media freedom. These are matters we can address later.
For the moment the most important questions  seem to be:
First, what on earth did the court (and Qarase who had challenged the earlier High Court's decision that the Interim Government was lawful) expect?  That an adverse decision would see the President comply with the Appeal Court ruling -- which may yet be appealed?  That Bainimarama, …