The Rumours and the Mara-Ganilau Multiracial Vision

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'Smoke Without Fire' has left this comment on your post "Pita, Tevita and the Cheshire Cat":

I can understand the speculation about Pita Driti, Croz, because there have been constant rumours of tension between him and Bainimarama, mainly over the PM's unwavering support for Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Driti can't stand Aiyaz and doesn't care who knows it. But taking on Frank would be an entirely different matter and Driti simply doesn't have the numbers on the Military Council to mount a plausible challenge. He'll be only too aware that the last person who took on Frank, Jone Baledrokadroka, barely escaped with his life and has to be content nowadays with fueling the rumour mill from the safety of the ANU in Canberra.

But let's just look at Tevita Mara, aka Roko Lui, and what motive he might have for moving against Frank. Even if you buy these rumours — and that's all they are — I don't think this member of Fiji's most distinguished family would move without the support of the rest of the Mara-Ganilau clique. And what motive do they have for moving against Frank?

One of Tevita Mara's sisters, Adi Koila, is married to the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and has long expressed the family's support for Bainimarama as the nation's only hope. Another sister, Adi Ateca, is married to the Defence Minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau. Surely it would require all of these people to have become disillusioned with Frank for Roko Lui to mount a serious challenge? Were he to do so otherwise, he'd come into direct conflict with his brother-in-law, the President, who's also commander-in-chief of the military.

Can anyone point out a single instance of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau showing disenchantment with Frank? If they can, then I'd be prepared to consider an alternative hypothesis. Yes, Frank was instrumental in removing Roko Lui's father, Ratu Mara, from the presidency in 2000. Has young Tevita been seething about this privately ever since? Yet where's the evidence for that? The fact is that all along, Frank has upheld the Mara multiracial vision as the only path for Fiji to follow. He's also never criticised Ratu Mara publicly and maintains that the extraordinary events of 2000 were only made necessary by the Speight gun at his head. Tevita Mara is constantly in Frank's presence at various public events and the body language between them doesn't suggest animosity. So surely Frank is safe so long as he retains the confidence of the Mara-Ganilau dynasty.

Their two great patriarchs, Ratu Sir Kamisese and Ratu Sir Penaia, made it their life's work to try to produce a prosperous, multiracial Fiji. Are their children any less likely to want the same thing? Everything these people say and do indicates that they remain faithful to the cause, the cause being pursued by Frank Bainimarama. We'd need to accept that either the family has turned or that Tevita is a renegade, more interested in his own personal agenda and the pursuit of power through yet another upheaval at the point of a gun. And there's no evidence of either as far as I can see.

All these people, along with Roko Lui, would have had to have become thoroughly disillusioned with Frank Bainimarama for any of these rumours to have credence. Adi Koila and Adi Ateca are Tevita's elder sisters. Even if you accept that he's the golden boy of the family, especially since his brother Ratu Finau stepped down from public life, it's inconceivable that he'd act independently of them. Adi Koila, especially, is a person of great mana in her own right, not only traditionally but as a former senator. You'll remember that she was held hostage by George Speight when he seized the parliamentary complex. She hates the indigenous extremists with an absolute passion and has always advocated the multiracial vision for Fiji espoused by her late father.


Joe said…
There is much more to it than what meets the eye. Roko Lui is mute in case Frank kick starts the investigation of Mara-Ganilau NBF scam/rip off. On the other side of the coin, Frank will abstain from NBF issue for obvious reasons(fear of Maras and Ganilaus). He seems more interested in $20 fines as in the case of Imrana Jalal.
sara'ssista said…
The Fijitimes has triumphantly announced that interim FM Kubuabola said there had been a number of significant movements in the last 12 months and gave examples of the standardisation of a common identity for all Fiji citizens as ‘Fijians’ which was no mean feat given the long standing strong sensitivities with this issue.What they are unable to now unwilling to say that whatver the merit or intention, this was done by way of decree, without consulation or mandate and took exactly five minutes to pubilsh. This took all of twelve months?? And they seriously expect that the country will just step into line and the EU will hand over bags of cash for this ?? Is this the level of support they can extract from the EU and have the gall to demand is published by compliant media outlets?? If this is the type of 'progress' that is lauded by coup supporters than this will come at a very high price for some.
Blogs have often been regarded as more accurate and reliable source when it comes to providing information to avid followers of events and politics. Information that would otherwise be suppressed by mainstream media due to regulations and self conservations interest among other reasons.

When it comes to Fiji, blogs have become a vent. A vent to excrete anger, hatred, racism, rumours and everything vice. When a blog states that coup is on the cards, this rumour spreads like a wild fire at times often causing panic of mass scale - sitting around a grog bowl, its the intellect who is well updated with the blog news reels who people tend to get stories from and believe.

The common man on the street experiences nothing but fluctuation of fear and thoughts of instability. Ultimately its the moral responsibility of blog authors to be accurate with what they write and save the common man the misery that they are eventually causing them.

To make a blog credible may i suggest the following:

1. Have no ax to grind that makes the blog author seem unreasonably bitter, condemning, fanatic, super-hostile, paranoid, crude, racist, sexist, misanthropic, or vulgar.

2. Have reasonable, rational language--with explanations, definitions, clarifications, links to substantiating information, as needed or appropriate.

3. Have references to reputable sources in the text itself. (Careful, this can be faked, I mean the reputable references may be plugged in just to gain your trust.)

4. Have relatively reserved tone of voice, dignified, not rampantly ecstatic, not excessively zealous, not fanatically frenzied...but then again you don't want an urgent message to be too sedate and casual!

5. Tolerance of opposing points of view, not deleting comments that disagree with author, displaying hostile and flaming comments, with good responses to them.

6. Blog author responds in timely manner to emails and posted comments from readers, and responds--at least once in a while--within the comment threads, and not just in a summarizing post.

Blogs are the epitome of self regulation. Its a powerful tool and like it was mentioned in the movie Spiderman - With great power comes great responsibility.

Now having said that, this blog is very accurate with information. However its too pro-government and at times seems like a propaganda tool. However the discretion is always the authors on which direction he intends to take his blog.

Thank you
The Namuamua Journal
Collective guilt said…
Joe, if everybody who had a hand in the NBF debacle was brought to account, there'd be pretty much no-one to run the country at all. An interesting take on things but unlikely.
Joe said…
One of 2 scenarios are possible:

1)Roko Lui/Driti gather enough support to overthrow Frank, reinstate 1997 cons. and go to polls, with international support obviously.

2)Frank to re-engage with the neighbors, start work on the new cons. immediately and bring the election forward by at least 2 yrs or more (early 2012).

I would personally support option 2. Option 1 can turn out to be very nasty.
Nakamel speak said…
Joe, now I know you are way off the mark.

1/ There is no support whatsoever on the Military Council for any early election and especially on the 1997 constitution. Think about it, tau. What was the whole point of 2006 if this is the eventual outcome? It just means no one man one vote and the almost certain return of the SDL. It ain't gonna happen despite your wild dreams. In fact, Frank has said on the record that it will only happen over his dead body.

2/ Frank is already trying to re-engage with his Melanesian brothers but has given up on Australia and NZ. That's why he's going full cut with he Chinese, the South Koreans, the Arabs and every other bugger in the world who's interested to build alternative relationships. He also knows that the US and Japan are especially worried about growing Chinese influence and are trying to urge the Aussies and the Kiwis to back off. We're already seeing a big change on the part of the EU and Australian and NZ will eventually fall into line. This has got to do with pragmatic geopolitics than whether some smallish Pacific country has democracy. Sure, it'd be nice but Frank is promising an election in 2014. So time to back off fellas. Frank is also adamant that 2014 is the earliest he'll consider going to the polls. Believe otherwise and you've been drinking too much of that Vanuatu stuff.
MSG meeting said…
what happened to the MSG meeting and Bainimarama's supposed leadership? Like the regime roadmap it seems to have disappeared into thin air?
St Michael Archangel said…
@ over two dead bodies......

The PM is not the only to have used this phrase: "over my dead body...".

There will never be a return to extremism and terrorism. Not while some of us still breathe.
Shared values said…
On the question of multi-racialism, Croz, here's an interesting sidebar. In his book, The Pacific Way, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara credits his time at the multiracial Marist Brother's High School for convincing him of the need for all races to work together as one nation. He was mixing with Indo-Fijians, Chinese, Kai Loma and Kai Valagi on a daily basis, both in the classroom and on the playing field. In the present context, both Ratu Tevita Mara and Frank Bainimarama have had the same experience by going to the same school. So their underlying attitudes to other races will be very different to indigenous Fijians who attended overwhelmingly indigenous schools like QVS, Ratu Kadavulevu and Ratu Sukuna. I think it's a fair bet to assume that on this basis alone, Tevita and Frank would share the same outlook when it comes to the need for racial equality. In other words, there's just no ideological reason in the Fiji context for them to be at loggerheads. Incidentally, it also strengthens the argument for the total abolition of communally based schools. No-one likes to think of it as apartheid, but the separate development of the races at school level in Fiji has been a disaster for national development. They can keep their own identity in every other way but the French have got it right by insisting that when it comes to the nation's schools, race and religion are left at the classroom door.
Last Days of 4.5 said…
Hi Croz,

I made the mistake of visiting Coup 4.5 to see what the others were saying. Some of the comments there are very depressing. It's as if a collective madness has taken hold.

Apart from the three-line group-speak and general sense of delusion, what's really jarring is the constant stream of abuse and racial and sexual invective.

The recent stuff on Ana Rokomokoti is appalling. How the gatekeepers on that site can pass some of the things that have been said about her - from her sexual performance to her racial origins -is reprehensible. This is late night bar talk among drunks in some sleazy dive, not for general publication.

It all smacks of frustration and utter desperation, the last days in the anti-regime bunker. As in Hitler's last days, every little pyrrhic victory is seized on, no matter how inconsequential, every nay-sayer is a traitor and any notion of dispassionate analysis, let alone truth, has given way to the basest propaganda.

They've lost the plot, the moral high ground and, it seems, the battle. And for the first time, one senses that they know it. Four years of fruitless agitation - as long as the Great War - has come to nought.
Rutting rabbits said…
Croz, what do you make of Michael Field's argument that Driti and Mara being sent on leave isn't about politics but sex?

He says on his website that both were caught in illicit relationships after Frank said anyone having an affair would be sacked. Anyone else know anything about this?

Doesn't sound right to me. One case might have been true but two? We all know these things happen in Fiji but this sounds more like a rabbit warren than a military camp.
Who's the bunny? said…
PS, If there is a sexual component to all this, it would explain the general lack of comment from all sides. If true, this would be hugely embarrassing for Driti and Mara and for the regime itself in bringing the army into disrepute.Frank is right to crack down on this kind of thing merely from the point of view of maintaining discipline and setting an example in the ranks.

What's strange is that Jone Baledrokadroka - writing on Coup 4.5 - doesn't seem to know anything about what Michael Field is reporting. You'd think he'd have his own sources but maybe not. Field is alleging that Mara was keeping a second family hidden in Nausori. Bearing in mind that Baledrokadroka comes from Naitasiri, you'd think he'd have his own informants in this part of the country.

Anyway, pending confirmation, it's a relief to learn, even if it's from Michael Field, that this isn't a serious political threat to Bainimarama. Were it to be so, he'd be the first to jump on the bandwagon.
Don't like it - don't read said…
@ last days
If you don't like it, don't read it. Go back to the 'new' Fiji times and its cat and dog stories.
As for last days - I think most people are very clear about what is on its last legs...bye bye Anna...bye bye driti...bye bye teleni...bye bye mara....more on their last legs to come!!
Bye bye credibility too said…
Don't you love it when these people are in full flight? Bye bye this and bye bye that. Hurling exclamation marks all over cyberspace. What gets me is that there's no attempt to address the real issue, just a collective two fingers to all of us.

Coup 4.5 now has a genuine case to answer about racism. It can control what is said on the site but chooses not to.

This is an extremely serious matter in the Fiji context. Racial vilification is a criminal offence here, just as it is in Australia and NZ. So Coup 4.5 isn't just giving the racists a platform, it's breaking the law.

It goes on an on about the "illegal" regime but is quite happy to thumb its nose at the law when it suits its own purposes. It's high time they were exposed and condemned for their hypocrisy .

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