Mara's Contradictory Appeals: He Can't Have it Both Ways — or Can He?

 Ratu Tevita Mara's appeals to others for action against Fiji seem to be increasingly unreasoned or devious. Take your pick.

Gone are his relatively moderate earlier calls for a regime change by peaceful means.
Now he is appealing to NZ for stronger sanctions, including action against NZ citizens in Fiji who support the Bainimarama government, such as Solicitor-General Chris Pryde.  As far as I know, there are no legal provisions that would allow this. 

He is also calling  for Fiji's dismissal from the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairmanship, just months after the MSG re-endorsed Fiji's chairmanship.

And he wants Pacific Forum countries to "intervene" in Fiji. If it is not quite clear what he means by interfere, he spells it out:

"If it comes to it, the Forum may have to invoke the Biketawa declaration, which allows for military intervention."
So here, finally, the gloves are off. This is what he is calling for if all else fails. 

His  stance is clear but his reasoning is notconsistent. Which goes back to whether it's reasoned or devious. If it's reasoned, it's unwittingly contradictory; if it's devious, the contradiction is deliberate.

On the one hand, he claims that more than half the military and most grassroots (ethnic?) "Fijians" want to get rid of Bainimarama, using hearsay to support his claim. 

Fiji government opponents say  people in Fiji are too afraid to talk. If this is true, how can Mara, in New Zealand, have any idea of the extent of opposition to Bainimarama? They can't both be right. Like most information, veracity depends on its source. Mara's sources are Mara supporters, and we have no idea how representative they might be.

One must also ask, had this level of opposition to Bainimarama existed when he was in the military, why did he not use it. It is, after all, much easier to launch an attack from within Fiji with 400 troops at your back than it is,  troop-less, from without. 

On the other hand, he calls for military intervention by Australia and New Zealand.  But why, going back to his earlier claim,  is this needed if more than half the military and ethnic Fijians really want to get rid of Bainimarama?  

My information is that an increasing number of grassroots itaukei, especially in rural areas,  support Bainimarama. The problem is with the urban "middle class" and its leaders who want faster progress to elections, the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations, and more civilian participation in government decision-making.

A comment by an anti-Bainimarama writer on Facebook seems closer to the reality that appears to be slipping away from Mara. Offering an new perspective on why Mara fled Fiji,  she writes:

"So, knowing he did not have the support either within the military, or the support of the general population, he really only had one option, to run and join the people already campaigning for change so that he might once again rise to some form of hero before he is tried for crimes against humanity and his role in the ousting of the elected government."
 Mara would do well to remember the old adage that liars (and fantasisers) need good memories. He can't have it both ways. Either there is massive internal support to oust Bainimarama and he doesn't need outside military intervention. Or outside support is needed because the internal support is lacking. 

His delusionary support  remind me of ousted Laisenia Qarase  in early 2007 when he said tens of thousands would take to the streets to protest against the Bainimarama Coup. 

He is still waiting.


Yea yea said…
....and the biggest liar of them all continues to be PM. No Mara is not the laternative fiji needs but Frank is no man of honesty either.


When will you turn a critical eye to this governments claims of support and mandate. Surely Mara's has as much fact behinbd it as governments (none).
Civilian participation in government said…
"civilian participation in government decision-making"? Croz, what next? People voting? In the new 'democracy' in Fiji there is no civilian participation in regime decision making - we don't need their vote as we know already that they all support us. Let's not get soft?
Who Do I Believe said…
Your attempt to discredit Mara has more holes than Mara’s comments.

1- He suggests NZ should take tougher action on NZ citizens, who should know better than to support a dictator. I am sure there is no legal way for the NZ Government to do this. What Mara does achieve is to tarnish Chris Pryde’s reputation in NZ. This puts pressure on Pryde.
A valid strategy for Mara.
2- The removal of Fiji as Chair of the MSG. As you well know it was not unanimous amongst the members for Fiji to be made Chairman. For over 6 months Fiji was thwarted in its attempts to become chairman. Can you give me one other international grouping of democratic countries that is chaired by a dictator?
A VERY valid strategy for Mara
3- He asks for the Forum to invoke the Biketawa declaration. He does not ask for military intervention he just points out it is allowed.
A Valid strategy for Mara

Overall his appeals are pretty consistent and match his strategy of isolating the regime.

Now we come on to the veracity of Mara’s claims of support.

Can you categorically say they wrong. I don’t think so. Your information as we know comes to you direct from the Ministry of Information or if you have any more reliable sources from the rural areas please let us know who they are.

We have seen from the Lau Provincial Council episode that Government funding is linked to support for the regime. So really just how strong is the support for the Bainimarama Government in the rural areas.

You go on to talk about the urban middle class being the problem. They at least can speak out a little because they have access to the internet. We can be sure where their support lies and it is not with the regime. We cannot be sure where the support of the rural areas lies.

You also talk about the itaukei in the rural areas. What about the rural Indian communities? Where does their support lie? Or do their opinions not matter?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Who do I believe ... A quick comment on the "middle class" and the fact that I did not mention Indo-Fijians. The former are not as united as you suppose, but my point was that to ensure lasting change their support would be needed. Indo-Fijians were not mentioned because they do not pose a threat to this regime, or any other. It was the manipulation of ethnic Fijians that produced 1987 and 2000, not that those coups did most of them any good.

The remainder of your comment is opinion.
Anonymous said…
Mara is now clearly aiming to resurrect the GCC and allow the Methodist Church to engage in Fiji politics. This is reprehensible and ludicrous. These two institutions are the cause of all the heartache and political instability in Fiji. Alluding to land is to fan emotions to justify his cause. He is a desperate man who will do anything to promote his cause. His path is littered with lies, including his escape to Tonga.
Anonymous said…

I think we would all like to see some reasonable opposition to this government emerge on the ground in Fiji. I would really like to see some new faces. That way loney and increasingly illrelivant voices offshore would get less airplay. The problem is this government has done everything it can to silence any alternative voices in Fiji. What we are left with is Mara and friends overseas being the only voices being heard by default. That is the fault of this government.

What I don't understand is if this government is serious about two of it's key promises (1. Elections in 2014 and 2. No one in current government will be able to stand in elections) then you would think they would want some voices other than their own emerging now. In fact I would suggest that they should encourage new political parties right now - ones that might support some of their initiatives and add altrenate view points to others...

Unless of course government is not serious about 2014 or planning to break their last remaining original promise to the people of Fiji and run in the elections - Qarase style. Now that would be a full circle turn of events.

I know you do your best to highlight eforts by this government but to be honest not a lot changes on the ground. Self interest in this lot seems pretty much on par with previous ones from where I sit. There has be no less overseas trips, no less jobs for family and friends and no less retribution for opposition (there has been more than ever).
Reprehensible and ludicrous said…
@ anonymous
What is 'reprehensible and ludicrous' is any attempt to restrict members from either GCC or the Methodist church to particpate in politics. Without inclusion and particpation there is no democracy. Such absurdity as excluding those who don't support the unelected regime is simply not sustainable.
Thomas Paine said…
@reprehensible and ludircrous 6:20pm

With all due respect, neither entities are political parties. Political parties are also over-rated in democracy. How about individuals as independent political progenitor.

Methodist church is a religious entity.

GCC involvement in politics is water under the bridge and the use of un-elected chiefs is NOT democracy but patriarchal aristocracy.

If the use of inclusion is used as excuse for chiefs in democracy, then the opposite must also be allowed, i.e allowing vulagi to be chiefs irrespective of race, color, creed or gender.

How about an even trade on inclusiveness?
Proud fijian said…
Well talking of sanctions..

Qantas has won its case against Australian TWU and has been awarded$788,000 compensation for the illegal strike in 2009.

This is on top of a $32,000 fine.

Now I would imagine they wouldn't want to pursue the strike both in Australia and New Zealand.
Anonymous said…
Your comments are typical of "a little knowledge is dangerous". Trying to introduce logic in times of high emotion is dangerous, misleading, muddying the water and would be best not published. You should try being a maariage concilor with you logic and see how it stands up ?
The rise of the Justiciar Knight said…
@ Thomas Paine

How about the inclusion of the Justiciar Knights? For this is an undoubted emergence on the global political scene. Not to be taken lightly since bio-terror and eco-terror tactics are described in the Manifesto.

The extreme right wing ideology, now exposed, to confront religious fundamentalism, deploying lone, motivated and opportunistic operators. The link to Serbia, Russia and those recently conveyed to The Hague is also noteworthy.

A frightening vision of the future which reveals the failure of the democracies in Europe especially to attend to their constituents' fears. But is also applicable to other areas of the world under socio-economic and cultural pressure.
Shrinking from Service to a Country? said…
@ reprehensible and ludicrous.....

Do you suppose that the Justiciar Knight has a role to play in what is decreed to be



It was Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809) who had this to say about service to a nation:

"The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country" (Pennsylvania Journal 1785)
Who Do I Believe said…
“My information is that an increasing number of grassroots itaukei, especially in rural areas, support Bainimarama.”

Croz unless you can let us know your sources that sounds like an opinion to me.
We know BEST! said…
'Wishing to have your cake and eat it' - a Fijian mindset.

And 'Yea Yea' has something: anyone who lies especially more than once, is a-gonna.

If they lie and live on Public Money, they are doubly a-gonna.

But....are they insane? This speculation is not extravagant. Extravagance being the 'name of the game'.

Who knows best? The person who pays knows BEST.

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