Why it is Unpleasant but Necessary to Attack Ratu Tevita

The least pleasant part of writing this blog is having,  as in the Ratu Tevita case, to attack the man.  I would far rather attack an argument, but several readers have said  I’ve ”gone over the top” and revealed my “true bias” by attacking Ratu Tevita and the role of Australia and New Zealand in helping him to spread his message.  I have no idea how representative their views are but if there are others, with open minds, who share these views, it is necessary to answer the accusation.  

There is nothing secret about my bias. It is clearly stated in the blog description in the tab Aims/Principles.  As for going over the top, that’s Ratu Tevita. I’m only calling his bluff. 

I have attacked Ratu Tevita for three reasons.  

First, because there are too many obvious lies in his statements to accept his Damascus experience without question.  He said he was lost when fishing; he took secret documents fishing; he was picked up outside Fiji territorial waters near Ono-i-Lau (a long way from Kadavu where several people saw him). He says Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Nazhat Shameem were frequent visitors to Bainimarama’s house in 2006. They were not. He says Bainimarama attacked three women in 2006 when the women said it was him and Pita Driti, and Bainimarama wasn’t even there.   He broke parole.  He left his colleague Driti  and his family to ‘face the music’  and now says he is worried about them.  There are credible stories of sexual misconduct and another family in Nausori, and there are unsubstantiated stories of financial improprieties. It is unclear how much of this is true   but there are just too many missing pieces in his story.  The missing pieces, and his obvious lies, leaves me doubting the purity of his motives.  That would not be a sufficient reason to attack the man were it not for the second reason.

Secondly, I attack him  because he is clearly trying to rally support to depose the Bainimarama Government, almost certainly with the assistance of others. He talks about peaceful protest in the same breath as saying he is in touch with, and has the support of, some army officers. If this is the case, which I doubt,  the outcome could be far from peaceful.   

But even more importantly, he is not speaking of  —or to— all Fijians.  He is addressing ethnic Fijians to the exclusion of the 43% of the population that is not.  He is clearly playing on the racial fears that have produced all of Fiji’s four coups. His idea of democracy is  shown in his wish to entrust the Great Council of Chiefs (a non-elected body that in recent years has been decidedly political) to steer Fiji in the interim before elections.  

I have no doubt he wants to return Fiji to the SDL-type politics, elitism, nepotism and privilege that were major causes of the Bainimarama Coup in 2006.  If Ratu Tevita has his way, Fiji will be returned to how it was.  None of its entrenched multi-racial problems will be resolved, the nation will be as divided as ever, and nothing will have been learnt from the past. The many steps taken in the past 4½ years to address racism, inefficiency, corruption and the needs of the urban and rural poor will have been for nothing.
Thirdly, I have attacked him  because the overseas mainstream media have failed to do their job in questioning his motivation and credibility.  This, quite probably,  has led to Australia and New Zealand maintaining their  current policies (just as there were signs they may be changing). They probably think, that with Bainimarama out and Ratu Tevita installed in Fiji,  business will return to usual, just as it was prior to December 2006.  I doubt what I say will make any difference but I think they are backing the wrong horse. 

Anti-government people and the usual blogs are making a lot of noise about Ratu Tevita's defection and ‘revelations’ (and it is certainly a slap in the face for Bainimarama) but there are no signs within Fiji that Ratu Tevita enjoys any popular support.  Indeed, he seems to be nothing more than an embarrassment. His overseas support is certainly vocal and well organized but, if his Canberra FDFM meeting is any indication, it mainly comprises SDL supporters and is limited to very small numbers.

The media rarely publishes contrary views, and both governments seem unwilling to question their initial assumptions, and now seem to be looking to Ratu Tevita to shortcut the Bainimarama policies that, if successful, will result in a far fairer Fiji in 2014.There is a danger both governments will not look closely enough at Ratu Tevita's credentials and the level of his supposed support. If they accept his prescription, without thought of its short and long-term consequences, they will truly have learnt nothing from Fiji's coup history.

This is why Ratu Tevita has to be challenged. It is nothing personal. But in this case I cannot attack the argument without also attacking the man.


Thumbs Up for Democracy said…
Again I think you are showing your biases very clearly.

You say you must attack Ratu Mara because he is a liar.
To be consistent you need to attack Bainimarama, Smith Johns and Pryde. They have all told lies at one time or another in this saga.
1- Bainimarama said Ratu Mara never handed in his passport. Not true
2- Bainimarama said there was an investigation into a missing $3m from Fiji Pine. Not true certainly no one in the Police force of FICAC is aware of any such investigation. We also have heard nothing since so obviously there is no such investigation.
3- Bainimarama said Col Mara leaving Fiji was unimportant and he had more important things to do like running the country. Mara has been on the front page and on just about every news broadcast since because the Government is making statements about him.
4- Smith Johns said Mara was involved in the 2000 Coup. Not true, it was Col Mara who finally arrested George Speight for breaking the agreement about carrying weapons
5- Smith Johns said don’t believe the blogs. The blogs seem to be getting a lot of this story correct
6- Sharon said NZ under their sanctions would not let in the Fiji Rugby team. Not true they won’t let 3 players who may or may not make the team.
7- Pryde announced on the day after Bainimarama’s statement that they had sent the extradition papers. Untrue. It was not until the end of the week the extradition papers were sent.

To imply that because he is in touch with military officers he is trying to set up an armed insurrection is a real leap of logic. In none of his statements has he advocated violence in any way shape or form. In fact in his Canberra speech he specifically excludes it.

He is speaking to all Fijians. He gives his messages in both English and Fijian. The 2 languages he speaks. If you know of a good Hindi translator please give him the details.

Again you bring up the racial slur. Where has he been racist? Please give us a concrete example of his racism.

You have no idea what type of Fiji he wants to return to. Why don’t you ask him and send some questions to truthforfiji at gmail dot com

Your third reason is the media has not questioned his motivation and credibility. If you look at all his interviews they most certainly have. He has survived with his credibility intact. You go on to say when Ratu Tevita is installed in Fiji. He has ruled himself out of being a part of any caretaker government and in an interview on NZ TV this weekend he ruled himself out of any political career.

You go on about a fairer Fiji in 2014. You are taking a big gamble that Bainimarama, who has lied about elections twice before is not lying again. You are also taking a big gamble they will be free and fair. But at the end of the day it is not a gamble for you because you pontificate from the comfort and freedom of New Zealand. If you are wrong it is the people of Fiji who will continue to suffer in a dictatorship. Perhaps we don’t want to take that gamble.

I agree with McCully. Ratu Mara is no poster boy, like all of us if you shine the spotlight on us you will find things best hidden. However, he has had the guts to stand up and let the media shine their brightest lights on him. He has admitted to being involved in some of the more unpleasant aspects of this dictatorship. You on the other hand gloss over them. Even if as you say Frank was not present for the beatings of the women, he still condoned it. He has not called anyone to account. Beatings continue now 5 years on. Do you condemn them? Do you condemn the man in charge?

I understand your bias and your aims with this blog site. However, I think need to question your support for a regime that condones human rights abuses. Where do you draw the line between what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior by the regime? Is it 100 beatings, is it 1,000 beatings, Is it 1 murder, is it 10 murders, is it 100 murders? Please advise us where you draw the line?
Croz Walsh said…
@ I'm not sure what you're saying here other than Ratu Tevita's lies are okay because Bainimarama and co. have also told lies. And at least some of your lies are errors or only a question of timing. I'd heard of the Fiji Pine allegations long before he left Fiji. Smith-Johns was misreported. She said 2006; the paper reported 2000. And I'd hardly expect Rt Tevita to be overtly calling for rebellion. Ditto the racism. My use of installed was imprecise. I meant the sort of regime he supports, not him personally. Excludng the CRW deaths, none have been political -- and I have opposed them all. Ditto the beatings, of which there have been none for quite a while.

You may care to tell readers what you want to see in Fiji now and in 2014. Write an article of likely interest to others and I'll publish it.
Go Croz! said…
Croz, you really are a legend for going through Tevita Mara more effectively than a dose of salts. Noooo, I take secret documents fishing all the time! Ha ha Ha. Thank God you and Graham Davies are there to counter all the crap we get about this idiot and the people around him. Now we hear that he owes money to people in Suva. Typical! I see the PM got an apology today from the people of Tubou. This is a chief who can't even control his own village. He will never control Fiji. Keep up the good work.
Anonymous said…
Mr Walsh

I have read your article with considerable interest and am in complete agreement with your views.

Its always a pleasure to read your posts, as you provide facts to back up whatever you have to say, quite unlike on other blog sites where the posters resort to name calling and foul language, thus leading one to the conclusion that these people have been given the boot from the gravy train.

Tevita Mara has nothing to offer Fiji, and the embarrasingly small number of attendees at his Canberra meeting (despite all the publicity, transport etc)indicates he has no support

May I encourage you to keep up the good work.

Anna T said…
You have given a true and accurate picture of Mara. In all honesty the people of Fiji find him an embarrassment.I have not hear one good thing from anyone in the past weeks except they wish he would 'just shut up and go away' a sentiment I share.

His family in Lau have wept for forgiveness because of what he is doing to cause trouble that gesture speaks volumes, his own people have disowned him.

Keep up the excellent work your blog is always a pleasure to read.
Stephen said…
As I see it you are about the only balanced reporting I can find Croz - thank you for the effort and wisdom you share
so wonderful said…
You are so wonderful. No wonder with people such as you, Mr Davis and Thakur Ramjet Singh there is such overwhelming international support for the Bainimarama regime?
Anonymous said…
I for one have always believed in Democracy and the insituitions that go with it.One of the main ones is a free press and this includes investigative journalism.
I am now wondering what is happening with journalism in some news papers in Australia and New Zealand.Have they become blinded by their anti Bainimarama hype or are they using the power of the press to achieve a so called democracy at any costs in Fiji.
Imprimatur said…
Investigative journalism is a fundamental pillar of freedom: especially of freedom from serious criminal endeavor and human trafficking and organized crime are just this. It's absence for whatever reason is an impediment to law and order and a whole society.
Navosavakadua said…

I asked before and I'll ask again: what did Ratu Tevita actually say that was racist or has racist innuendo?

You said "'He is addressing ethnic Fijians to the exclusion of the 43% of the population that is not." What has he said that is the basis of this claim' Is it the fact that he has made some of his statements in Fijian?

What is it that he's said that leads you to declare "I have no doubt he wants to return Fiji to the SDL-type politics, elitism, nepotism and privilege that were major causes of the Bainimarama Coup in 2006."

Please supply facts to support your assertions of bad faith.

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons from Africa

Fijian Holdings Scandal: Betrayal by their trusted sons