Fiji's "New" Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Take your Pick


WEEKEND READING.  • Allen Lockington Column • Nazhaat Shameem on Proper Police Procedures  • Fr Kevin Barr on Rural-Urban Drift  • How is Life in Fiji Today?
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                                     Opinion by Crosbie Walsh

With Alice in Alice in the Looking Glass
If they continue as they have started, it's clear that former prime ministers Qarase and Chaudhry intend to obstruct every move Government takes along the road to elections in 2014.

They wish to be heard by the Constitution Commission — but deny its legality and credibility.  They now see no reason for anything more than tinkering with the 1997 Constitution — but this was not always so.  They object to the military being involved in the massive logistical exercise  of voter registration — even  though officers from the Electoral Office and overseas vote registration experts will be present.

Qarase has called for an "independent body" to handle the task and Chaudhry says military involvement is "absurd" and the registration "does not have the confidence of the people" — though how he would know this is unclear. The military are organizing the logisitics; the Electoral Office and experts the registration.

With the need to register sixty hundred thousand people in over a thousand centres and more than a hundred islands, how do they think the exercise should be carried out with the maximum efficiency and the minimum cost? Which independent body can handle this? The Boy Scouts? Or 6,000 paid teachers during a school vacation?

It is not the first time, of course, that the two have raised objections.  They put obstacles in the way of discussions and dialogue leading into the People's Charter and for the past five years they have seldom missed an opportunity to snipe at government, and they have done this without putting forward a single helpful suggestion on how Fiji is to move forward, other than their self-serving and totally unrealistic demand for immediate elections.

Elections? Let's glance back. Many in Fiji will remember how they performed when they last held political power. Chaudhry's abrasive manner and cultural insensitivity fuelled the Taukei ethno-nationalists who overthrew his government in the "Speight" coup of 2000. Qarase refused to share power with Chaudhry following the 2001 Election, thereby breachingthe 1997 Constitution and breaking the law. His later "acceptance" led to the farce of Mick Beddoes's party of two becoming the official parliamentary opposition. And then there was the roll out of ethnic legislation: the so-called Tolerance and Reconciliation Bill that would have absolved all those responsible for the Speight Coup (and the arson in Downtown Suva!); the Qoliqoli Bill that would have set mataqali against each other and denied non-Taukei (including the vital tourism industry) access to beaches, off-shore recreation and fishing, and other supposedly pro-taukei legislation that in reality would only have benefited the Taukei elite, that led to the Baininimarama Coup. 

Now Qarase and Chaudhry, once mortal enemies and now tweedles of convenience, are thinking of a joint presentation to the Constitution Commission, and there's even talk of a shared interim government in 2014.

I cannot help but compare Fiji with many other "Third World" countries when critics talk of alleged (and real) abuses of human rights.  Where else would two former PMs be allowed to walk freely in the streets and talk sedition? Where else would two largely discredited political parties, whose policies were instrumental in causing two coups,  be allowed so much freedom?

God help Fiji if Qarase and Chaudhry and unreformed SDL and FLP parties are ever returned to power.

Fiji needs new politicians  who will appeal to people of all races, and  political parties that promote healthy debate and unity of purpose, not discord and division. The alternative is more of the same—and more coups.

Comments

We the people said…
Croz
It is we the people who decide the future of Fiji and who will be our ELECTED leaders. It is not you, Davis or thugs with guns. your seditious comments are not appreciated.
Anonymous said…
I am not amazed or surprised by your use of the word 'obstruction'. Qarase and Chaudry for all their obvious flaws, object and complain but cannot obstruct anything. 'helpful suggestion' , you insist on interpreting everyone elses contribution on what is 'helpful' in your view. Rather myopic i would have thought and really rather bizarre.Finally 'Where else would two former PMs be allowed to walk freely in the streets and talk sedition' against a military dictatorship? and to have the freedom to!! What enlightend thinking. Yes we should all be so lucky to be ruled and be allowed to complain.
Anonymous said…
Why are these two still walking freely on our streets, they should be behind bars. Whats the delay?
Anonymous said…
Mate Crozy, Where's the Supervisor of Elections? Why is the self appointed AG also the Elections Minister? The forced justification that the military is purely involved to assist with logistics is just too rich. The involvement of the military in any way, shape or form taints the whole elections process, This will never be a free and fair election. I cannot help but praise he two former PMs for speaking out. At least we can count on them on voicing the concerns of the silent majority.
Aam Aadmi said…
Spot On Croz.

Agree with your views. In most military ruled countries, Lai and Mahen would have disappeared.
Anonymous said…
'thug' is an emotional word. From the point of view of a person beaten up at Muanaweni I dont think the military are thugs. I think it is the ethno nationalists let out by Qarase and his mob to terrorise Indians, then have them forgiven under the Recociliation Bill, who are the thugs. The military holds them at bay, but God help us all if they are used again to terrorise the innocent.
vinny said…
The life of lies has an end, I dont thing i would like to see anyone of them in the fijian parliment but at naboro locked away.
Rubbing Shoulders said…
@ vinny

Good to know that you are confident about an end to the 'life of lies'. Not so sure that Naboro might be the safest place even now for the: deceitful, dishonest, dissembling, double-dealing, false, guileful, mendacious, perfidious, treacherous, two-faced and untruthful. With some of whom we rub shoulders each and every day.
Coup Apologists Unite said…
You know the regime is running scared when the 2 Palagi pro-dictator bloggers are working together on the same story. Here we have a classic case of Bainimarama getting concerned that his Lowy poll results do not look so good now that Qarase and Chaudhry are looking to work together to remove his dictatorship.

Between the 2 of them at the 2006 elections over 70% of the Fiji electorate voted for them. Now these 2 leaders are looking at combining that support to make sure Bainimarama falls at the polls. He should be scared. What will happen now censorship is gone and the electorate learns about the failures of the dictator and his Junta. That lead in the Lowy poll will disappear faster than a $100 in Nur Bano Ali’s brassiere.

It is no coincidence that the 2 Palagi coup apologists wrote essentially the same story in the same week. Both had spoken to Smith Johns of the Ministry of Misinformation and she gave them the direction they needed to take.

What dirty tricks will the Junta use to remove Chaudhry and Qarase from the ‘Free and Fair’ elections.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Coup apologists unite ... My! You are well informed. How did you know neither Graham nor I are capable of an independent idea unless we are prompted by Sharon Smith-Johns?
Coup Apologists Unite said…
@Croz
I am sure you and Graham are capable of independent thought but the timing of both articles strikes me as being more than mere coincidence. You have also not denied it.

I do know for a fact that the regime is deeply concerned about Qarase and Chaudhry working together and one of their current political priorities is to end the relationship before it even begins. This is something Sharon is working on as a matter of priority and I understand you and Graham communicate with her regularly.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Coup Apologists Unite ... Sharon had nothing to do with my article, and I'm sure the same is true for Graham's. I have asked Sharon for information on several occasions (as, indeed, I have with my other contacts) but she has never suggested I write on any particular topic, and I've never asked her about what I should write. I would have thought all this pretty obvious, but since you asked, you now have the answer.

I would be pleased if you'd share with me what else you "know for a fact" about what is happening inside and beyond the MOI. But if you feel unable to do this, I'd be just as pleased if you'd give me credit for honesty and an attempt at balance, however mistaken you may think me to be.

I am not a coup apologist and your use of this term is as insulting as your attempt to dismiss my arguments as coming from one of two "palagi." You know my name, the aims and record of my blog, and my credentials. What do I know about you other than that you are on first name terms with Sharon, have an informant within MOI, and probably have a public and private face looking in opposite directions? Could Liu muri be an appropriate psedonym?
Coup Apologist sUnite said…
@Croz

I am sorry you do not like the term Palagi. I used it to highlight that you and Graham are both or European heritage and you are the only 2 bloggers I have found that support dictatorship in the Pacific. I personally find it interesting that no one living in Fiji or from the 2 biggest ethnic groups in the country has taken the time and the trouble to set up a blogsite in support of the Junta. On the other hand many who are against the regime have done so in spite of the danger of running an anti dictatorship blog site from within a country under Bainimarama’s control.

I understand you are not a coup apologist and instead I will refer to you as a Dictator’s apologist. You publish many column inches excusing his human rights abuses and disastrous policies. Though please understand for clarity on this posting I will keep the same names.

I am Liu Muri and I do have very different public and private faces. I need to live and earn a living in Fiji. I do not have the luxury of living overseas. I have learnt from experience that to voice my true feelings in public means a trip to QEB and a loss of work.

It does concern me living this lie but feeding my family is my priority and I am not brave enough to lead a charge against the dictator. Imagine the shame I feel after spending time with Sharon; I spend the time nodding my head and agreeing with her, telling her what a good job she is doing. All the time I am longing to tell her how much I disagree with her and put her on the next plane to North Korea. Oddly enough she is much more gung ho than anyone in the military council, cabinet or PSC I know.
Kumalavula said…
Croz,

You continue to amaze us Fijians at how shallow and naive is your appreciation of what the real situation is in Fiji! Liu Muri is spot on to say it says all about you in that you write in support of a dictatorship in Fiji with no thought as to the impact of their rule on the Fijians. The human rights abuse and thuggery plus the corruption and rule without transparency. I for one will be keen to meet up with you in Fiji if you dare set foot here on return of democracy because you are no friend of democracy but of totalitarianism and mob rule like Bainimarama has been.

You are a bitter and discredited palagi who just doesn't want to accept wrong when it stares you in the face. Leave Fiji to us Fijians and try to retire in peace in Levin or wherever you are in NZ.
Anonymous said…
What a disgusting way to describe someone whose views you don't like! Palagi? But this is a Samoan word isn't it? From a person who is a so-called democrat? From a so-called democratic, equal, non-racist and politically correct country? Oh liberty liberty, what crimes hath been committed in thy name.

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