The Soqosoqo Ni Who Party?
In August 1939 German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Stalin wrote to Hitler expressing the hope the Pact would "mark a decisive turn for the better in the political relations between our two countries." But both sides saw the Pact as a temporary expedient as they prepared for war. So too with Chaudhry and any reciprocal moves by Qarase.
Chaudhry's decision to "join hands [with the SDL...]to front and campaign against the government" has similarities to the Nazi-Soviet Pact. It reads well but that is all. Chaudhry's record suggest his move is motivated more by a determination to return to power than it is to salvage "the country from a government which suppresses the people through despotism."
"We have to save the country," says Chaudhry. "Whatever is happening here is before all of us. We have a government which dictates to the people, people don’t have freedom of speech for the past three years, political parties and people could not meet. People were made slaves so in this sort of situation we have to get together and oppose this. Political parties always have their differences. This is not new but we need to get together to get the country out of danger because we think more about the future of this country so we can’t sing different tunes, we have to get together and sing the same tune."
There is, however, a silent irony in Chaudhry's appeal. His arrogance and insensitivity to the feelings of itaukei were a major factor that played into the hands of the racists who mounted the 2000 Speight Coup. And Qarase's betrayal of Bainimarama's trust after this coup when he got into bed with the Speight plotters, rather than bringing them to justice, and his subsequent disciminatory legislation, were major factors that produced a wave of public support than helped Bainimarama to seize power in 2006.
So, in these respects, Chaudhry helped produce the 2000 Coup and Qarase the 2006 Coup. And now these gentlemen are holding hands to return things to what they probably consider "normal". The normal adversary style of politics; the normal insensitivity to other ethnic groups and other religious beliefs; the normal perks and nepotism of office; the normal practices that could produce yet another coup.
If they genuinely wish to save the country, they would co-operate with Prof Yash Ghai's Constitution Commission and stand aside for a new generation of politicians, less tarnished by their personal histories.
Chaudhry's proposal for another round of President Political Dialogues should be seen for what it is. He blew its possibilities last time. He has given no signs of a change of heart since. The message remains: "I Chaudhy. Never mind Fiji."
Supporters of the FLP and SDL should know that this latest move to derail the Constitution reform process is not going to happen. It may not be perfect, but the best way forward is to support and take part in the current reform process.