The CCF's Suggested Way Forward

N235. WHY SO FEW COMMENTS ON AKUILA'S POSTING?  Part II of Critical Engagement and Future Scenarios was published  last Saturday (N205). Few people took the opportunity to comment.  I republish the conclusion to the Rev. Akuila Yabaki's paper and urge you to read it, comment, and read the full document.

To conclude, I acknowledge that militarization that has taken place in Fiji. The abrogation of the Fiji constitution and imposition of PER and other non-challengeable decrees have placed the country under effective military rule. A vulnerable and weak economic situation coupled with a power vacuum in local leadership, as well as an fractured diplomatic relations with its key regional partners pose a worrying situation for Fiji.

However there have also been positive developments. The government continues to show a clear commitment to addressing long standing issues of racial discrimination, is tackling a number of required reforms in difficult and previously highly politicized areas such as land, and has in recent times shown an increasing willingness to engage in dialogue with civil society. It is therefore the view of CCF that these positive steps must be built upon and ways of constructive critical engagement found and strengthened.

Key areas of concern for CCF continue to be that there has been very little effort to engage with the people in the formulation of many decrees; PER continues to stifle conversation, dialogue and freedom of speech; and there has been very little movement in the processes that will lead to constitution making and to democratic elections.

As a way forward, CCF therefore proposes that efforts to bring Fiji back to sustainable democracy, both locally and internationally, be focused on constructively engaging, finding ways to build upon opportunities for dialogue, and specifically target the critical interim milestones of:
  • The lifting of PER;
  • The reinstatement of an inclusive and independently facilitated political dialogue;
  • The promotion of dialogue and consensus as the means of Charter recommendation   implementation;
  • The bringing forward of the timeline for work on constitutional development; and 
  •  Immediate commencement of electoral reforms.
Finally it is important to note that under the current state of affairs the role of Civil Societies as change agents remain critical in:
  1. Allowing citizens to view Good Governance Issues critically,
  2. To remain critically engaged with government in making our views heard on key policy issues, and ill prepared reforms
  3. To monitor Governments Commitment to Human Rights issues through the Universal Periodic Review and the documents which the state has ratified and signed off on
  4. To monitor governments overall performance and provide an alternative view to how it is performing to the international community
  5. To be the voice to pressure government to maintain its commitment to the return to a sustainable democracy.
Right now we all still waiting for credible steps in the right direction.


pasifika said…
Has CCF attempted the traditional communication practice of 'veisiko' ( visitation). CCF to lead a 'veisiko' of NGO reps to the Prime Minister with 'sevusevu' (yaqona) and 'talanoa' session to discuss the listed concerns. The Pacific way of communication usually works.
sjm said…
Going back many years, frustrated with goevernment in Australia, and seeing the huge advances in Singapore, I used to say to my wife that in many ways the best form of government is that of a benevolent dictator, not expecting to see it in the country of my birth Fiji! but the truth is it can be, especially when the preceding electoral procedure and seats of power in Fiji were ones that would never have been tolerated in Australia. There is a lot to be done in Fiji, and it is being done, and it's being done in my view because there is a leader who at the core of his heart has the people and nation of Fiji's best interests at heart. He makes mistakes but from my observation these are far outweighted by the rapid steps being taken to improve much of what goes on in the nation. That said my one area of concern is to the reported heavy handed treatment of those taken into custody but to be frank (excuse the pun) I really don't know if those reports are correct! Somehow this is an area that needs acute attention by the present government. Somehow the lifting of PER may be a good first step.
sara'ssista said…
@sum ....basin doesn't make 'mistakes' as you put it, he would be the very first one to admit he doesn't make any, nor his regime, he feels beyond the law, that applies to everyone else and he has contributed to the next coup where an officer feels he knows best. Let's remember this is not a government it is a junta and with super ministers again unaccountable to anyone. Whatever the has been a disgraceful treason on the country and consequences have to follow. I am still to if this regime is so confident in it's approach why it still needs such protection and promotion, when I am still yet to see one instance where there has been an attempt to use anything other than words.
What is the point said…
I think you must still be disappointed with the number of comments. The Reverend Yabaki thinking is similar to your own in terms of dealing with the government.

However, for the rest of us dialogue is probably no longer seen as viable. The Government does not listen. The Government has a view and they will not change it.

The lack of response to this post confirms there is widespread apathy in Fiji in terms of having talks with the Government. What is the point in wasting your breath? Added to which if you say the wrong thing the Government will take it out on you.

pasifika said…
Dialogue Fiji is conducting a series of workshops, one for the central eastern division being from 24th to 27th March at the Pearl Resort for NGOs . Government reps and others.Some active promotion of discussions is taking place but not everyone is in the loop. Seems as if one has to find the right formula, structure and mix of NGO officials to get the nod for such gatherings.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
@ pasifika said.....

This is 'politics by another means' - getting the nod to ensure only some are present and others are absent. It has been going on in Fiji for ever. The test is : WHO IS NOT THERE? Then, publically, ask WHY? This is a sure sign of corruption. Corruption of a process which requires integrity.
pasifika said…
Dialogue Fiji is most likely the official medium of dialogue between the people and government.The link with governmenrt is Jone Dakuvula and Nazhat Shameem - refer Pacific Dialogue, top right of this blog above. Any dialogue is better than none. Hope they don't put a foot wrong and they will last.

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