Fallout from Ratu Tevita’s Defection: Some Media Coverage

 The unabated negative news published by the overseas media, and the total absence of any balanced or positive news, must be affecting the confidence of some readers about the stability of the Bainimaram government and Fiji’s future. That, presumably, is its intention.  Ratu Tevita’s defection is a massive publicity  blow — but it is unlikely to have changed anything in Fiji. He was suspended from the military last October and nothing changed then.  I hold with what I wrote in the previous posting: Ratu Tevita's defection was due to self-interest, not principle, and those in the know in Fiji know this. Here are some other reactions:

TV1’s Petra Bagust interviews PM John Key (extract. part on Fiji)

Petra:  Our other neighbours Tonga and Fiji, what's your sense of that situation?
John: Yes it's a very interesting position and we're obviously monitoring that quite closely. Tevita Mara is the guy that was Bainimarama's right hand man when he undertook the coup back in 2006, so the fact that he's jumped ship if you like is a very interesting development there. The second thing is New Zealanders might remember his father when he was Ratu Sir Kamasese Mara, so basically this is right up there in the leadership of Fiji. So look we'll continue to monitor it, we're not playing any role in it, it's an issue between ultimately I guess at this stage, Tonga and Fiji, but we are monitoring it.
Petra: Could the situation escalate, might New Zealand need to play a role?
John: We're not thinking that will be the case at this point, I mean it will be interesting to see how it goes, I mean it's always been quite fragile in Fiji and that's the nature of coups they always are. But let's all see how things go, I mean New Zealand's long term position has always been and will continue to be, we want to see democratic elections held in Fiji and we're prepared to offer whatever support is necessary to allow that to take place.

Trev, a reader, comments.  Read the full comment on the posting.
His(Ratu Tevita’s)  statement makes little sense. He has accused Kaiyum of being some sort of master controlled of everything happening in Fiji and masterminding his arrest …But then he goes on to say that he is: Endowed with no leadership qualities and incapable of understanding the simplest principles of decency and respect... Come on, which one is it - is he a mastermind leader/manipulator, or a terrible leader?
He also complains that he was to be put in jail without the chance to defend himself in court, despite the facts showing that he just went to court and WAS GIVEN BAIL. Kaiyum must really be slipping by allowing his corrupt judicial system let him out so easily.

NewstalkZB is reporting http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=196727
Victoria University Senior fellow Rod Alley says it's a dynamic development. "I think it's a game changer," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking. "This could be the boulder that sets off quite a big landslide in terms of a real big challenge yet to the Bainimarama regime."  
I continue to be amazed at the people consulted as experts by our media.  Rod Alley is not a Fiji or Pacific expert and his only knowledge of the area comes from reading what others write and say.

The Australian. Click here

Fiji Live report: A bench warrant has been issued by the Suva Magistrates court this morning for fugitive Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.  The bench warrant is for Ratu Tevita’s failure to comply with his bail conditions that included a weekly report to the Samabula Police Station and the payment of $2,000 for his bail. Ratu Tavita however, did not report to the station last Friday. With the bench warrant now in place for Ratu Tevita, the Director of Public Prosecutions Office is expected to file extradition papers to the Tongan government.

Confused reporting in Fiji on Protocols
Fiji live wrongly reported: Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano says Tonga has breached its protocols by offering protection to its kinsman Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.
Fiji Village’s correctly reported:  Lord Tu’ivakano said it is an offensive breach of protocol purposely to infer, for political gain, His Majesty’s offer of hospitality to his kinsman Ratu Tevita Mara as an offer of immunity.

From the Tongan Prime Minister,
“I wish to add my support to the sentiments of friendship and general good wishes contained in the Commodore’s statement but wish to make certain points clear. Fiji’s domestic affairs are her own and His Majesty’s Government has no interest in bringing undue influence.
The right of audience in His Majesty’s Courts without political interference has been a cornerstone of the King’s Peace for over 100 years and there are proper procedures and obligations governing applications for Extradition Orders.
There shall be no obstacle placed before the Fijian Government’s Representatives in Court nor should the accused be denied counsel and the right to reply.
The dignity of Tongan Justice is preserved through Judicial Restraint therefore the discredited indulgence of Judicial Activism which is prevalent in the Courts of some Dominions and Republics is an affront to our Constitution.
It follows therefore, that Tongan Judges are not subject to influence from either the King or His Ministers nor are they encouraged to pass judgments according to their political beliefs.
It is an offensive breach of protocol purposely to infer, for political gain, His Majesty’s offer of hospitality to his kinsman Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba as an offer of immunity.


Anonymous said…
Suspended last October ? Hang on a second, we where told he was taking leave owed to him. Nothing about any problems or suspension. Only the blogs said that and you normally dismiss those. If we beleived only the press in Fiji and Government he was just taking leave - which makes this a big story !
Agree its self interest said…
I agree this is more about self interest than anything else.

It is also fair to say the whole 2006 coup has been about self interest as well. It is well known that the now PM was under investigation for past deaths. He certainly made very public seditious comments. Frank did not run though - he threw out government and eventually the law itself.
Get the facts righ said…
I think you are missing the point here @anon. He was taking leave and in the process these accusations have been leveled at him. It does not change the story at all, SORRY. Regardless of him being on leave or dismissed the charges remain the same. And for the record he was taking leave last year.

As always the story will be blown out of all proportion by the media and the SDL bloggeres, and the facts distorted to fit.
Anonymous said…
So he just happened to be on leave, then investigated and then charged. What utter rubbish.
PER will be lifted said…
No threat to nation’s security: Naivalurua

"Commissioner, Brigadier General Iowane Naivalurua has assured people that there is no threat to nation’s security and they need not to worry following Ratu Tevita Mara’s fleeing to Tonga."

This is great news. There is no threat, no emergency so the PER will immediately be lifted and we can expect to see some reporting on the case including comments and claims from Mara ?
Implications aplenty said…
I think the fallout is ging to be bigger than anyone thinks. I don't think there will be a government change but the international press are going to have a field day. Rumours in Fiji will reach frantic levels. Why ? Because despite the PER and all the efforts in Fiji to silence everyone you can't stop people wanting to know. People don't believe a censored media and wnat to know what is happening. This is Frank own plan back firing and will take a long time to recover from.
Anonymous said…
Fiji's leaders have an amazing ability to change sides. The PM was agaisnt coups (almost died because of one) and then decided it was OK to do one himself. Mara supported a coup and now has a problem with it. Mahen Chaudry was thrown out by a coup and then supported one and is now agaisnt it. And to think they all want to lecture everyone else on leadership.

These guys actually make the AH pretty good. At that is one of Franks problems. The AG works hard, is reasonably articulate and the PM knows he needs more people like him. But he also needs peoples support. I don't think he will keep the AG forever. If there is an election (I pray) and Franks (I pray he does not) I bet he does not run with the AG.
Vueti Viti said…
Anon @ 3:37...you're so right. When I read this, I went..SUSPENDED??? What??? So, CROZ knows the real story and it is not reported correctly to the Fijian public because of the PER and the censors?

Driti, Mara decision after leave taken: Army
"Fiji army commander and Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will decide the status of two senior army officers once they have completed all outstanding leave."

One day Mafatu!!!!! The regime is now crumbling from within...slowly but surely.

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