News and Comments Wednesday 20 June 2012

THE WORDING MATTERS. Opponents of the Bainimarama government and the constitutional dialogue process on which Fiji is soon to be engaged, have picked on the PM's statement after launching the electronic voter registration awareness programme: "I don’t have time for critics right now except to say that we started this process and we will see it to the end. You can tell Chaudhry, Beddoes, Qarase, the women’s forum that we started this and we will end it." He was referring to demands that the military step down and the country return to the 1997 Constitution.

What did they expect him to say? That he'd abandon the People's Charter, the Roadmap and the Constitution Commission, step aside, and let them have their elections the day after tomorrow?  Then they criticised Col. Tikoitoga for saying the military will finish what it has started. This was much the same as what the PM was saying, and I see nothing sinister in this. Tikoitoga also said people should question the motives of politicians who are now resurfacing. And I think he got that right, too.

The old politicians would do better to help the dialogue process proceed, without their red herrings. We know neither of these military men would win an oratory competition, but if we focus on the essence of what they say rather than the way they express it, few would question the logic and appeal. Fiji needs to make the best use of the dialogue process.

Having said that, Government and the military must do their part by responding moderately to ideas with which they disagree, otherwise a noticeable number of people will be so fearful they make no comments at all!


FURTHER COURT DELAYS. Some people assume constant court delays are due to the government prosecution side needing more time to gather evidence.  And so it is, some of the time.  But delays are also often caused by the defence team.  In the State versus Qarase and three others, the defence asked and were granted a further "eight months to find an affordable and suitable senior Queens Counsel". Qarase is charged with six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharge of duty with respect to a property in which he has a private interest. It is alleged Qarase between 1992 to 2000 while employed as a director of Fijian Holdings Limited, Financial Advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts. This is the third time since 31 October last year that the defence has asked for trial delays.

A citizen wrote an open letter to the PM but the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun refused publish it. So the citizen has it published in Coup4.5. The letter lists a large number of complaints against the Government so it's perhaps not surprising the mainstream media declined the letter and Coup4.5 accepted it.  What is surprising is that citizen must have submitted his name if he expected the Fiji media to publish his letter. Why then does he become an anonymous citizen in the Coup4.5 posting?
  until the completion of ceremonies attendant to Adi Samanunu's passing.


Disagree said…
I strongly disagree that the PM or LandForces commanders comments are reasonable.

1. The role of the military MUST be part of the constitutional discussion.

2. The 1997 constitution or at least parts of it IS a reasonable place to start the discussion.

3. Lets remember the military and PM where perfectly happy with the 1997 constitution for 3 years from 2006 when they staged their coup. It would still be in place other than that it became inconvenient (they would have had to let go of power).

4. Threats that military will use force are never helpful and further reinforce a view that the military consider themselves above the law.

5. People should question the motivations of the PM and the Military as much as they should question the motivations of old politicians. After all it is the PM and military who have most benefited from this coup (despite grand claims none would).

6. Everyone wants a open dialogue. That really requires the military to accept there will be alternate views AND that political leaders will have a say.

7. The PM could easily shut down Mahen if he really wants by announcing he will be in-ellegible to run in the 2014 election. That would be consistent with his promise to the people of Fiji (those who participate in interim government will not be able to participate in elections). I doubt he will though because he then must rule himself in-elligble.

8. Finally if the PM and military really believe in democracy (I'm not convinced) then they will have to accept that at some point in the future their own actions of the last 5.5 years scrutinised. Look at Qarase - they are going all the way back to 1992 to "get him". Why would they expect future governments not also be vengeful ?
Anonymous said…
"fearful they make no comments at all"

There in lies the biggest problem in Fiji right now. The only people who are speaking up are the old, removed and irellevant. The like of Qarase, Chaudhry and Beddos have nothing to lose so we hear them squealing away.

Where are the new voices, new political parties etc ? Scared is the answer. They have jobs, families, education - why risk all that ? One wrong word, you offend the PM, AG or military and all that could be gone.

What would change the situation ?

1/ If the PM made it clear he was not going to stand and the Military would play no role in government post 2014 nor would they try and direct votes or outcomes. (that way you don't have to be scared about being against the military)

2/ PM actually encourages new political parties. They could start by making statements that start with "we accept peoples right to have a view"
No more excuses said…
Enough excuses Croz. Tikoitoga is out of live and out of touch. Every time he opens his mouth its a step backwards for Fiji.

And why is the military governments spokesperson ?
More accurate essence said…
The essences of what they are saying is...

We have the guns, we are in charge, we make the rules, we benefit, we decide, we win......and nothing will change that ! Got it ? Now opposition go away so we can write our constitution, win our election and carry on running the country just as we are now. Oh and we will use force, don't dare ever think about holding us accountable for anything. We are above the law. You should all know that by now.
Frank - the best Fijian money can buy. said…

Does it really matter what name appears over the posting? The substance, in this particular case, is more important.

All in all it would appear to be a fairly accurate description of the conduct of this regime over the last 6 years. Who cares who wrote it?
Anonymous said…
'Commodore Bainimarama was quoted as having said that “the day that the military will be taken to prison, that will be the end of those who are behind it'
And what would your spin on 'it will be the end of those behind it mean'? I look forward to your 'interpretation' of this. You again condemn any comments that suggest the regime should be held accountable , which is little ironic given that the regime has always acted extra-judiciously against opponents/critics and wants to hold them to account, with limited success.
Anonymous said…
Oh Croz, nobody goes to such funny lengths to understand and speak for this regime. Apparently you don't bother with other commentators but feel the need with an illegal military regime.It reminds me of Lord Haw Haw.
Actions Matter not Words said…
The Wording Matters.

I would say Bainimarama abandoned the Peoples Charter a long time ago.
He abrogated the constitution
No transparency
No Good Governance
No Independent Judiciary
No economic Growth
Increasing poverty

I am afraid every pillar has been twisted out of shape by Bainimarama’s leadership.
The Finish said…
When the military say they will finish what they started what do they actually mean?

Will the military go back to barracks after the election?
Will the military continue to supervise after the election?
Will the military accept the election results if Bainimarama loses?
Will the military accept it if the elected parliament brings abck the Qoliqoli bill?
Will the military make sure Qarase cannot take part in the elections?
Will the military continue to enjoy their new found wealth?

As nobody knows the answer to this question it is hard not to feel threatened by them
Red Herring said…
Since when is insisting on a level playing field a red herring?

The “old” politicians are pointing out that currently everything in terms of the media is stacked in the regime’s favor.

I don’t think the National or Labor parties of NZ would think it was a red Herring if their opponents got three time the media coverage.
The people will decide said…
It is the people of Fiji that will again decide who are their political leaders. Not you or Davis, and certainly not a derailed military. The free world will see to this. It is naive for anyone to think otherwise. Unless of course you are ignorant of history?
Another cogent reading.... said…
We read the message quite differently:

"That will be the end of those who are behind it"....

Those behind the events of 2000 and 2006. This is a perfectly cogent reading and understanding.
Anonymous said…
Ooh a lot of nastiness and vitriol in these posts above Croz. Maybe just from one ex politician throwing a teeny tantrum? The fact is that but for 2006 racism would have become more entrenched, the itaukeii more poor and disenfranchised, and the civil service more corrupt. If it were not for the peculiar travel bans we would not have so many army types in the civil service. If it were not for Qarase's challenge in the courts, we might still have the constitution! And maybe we would just be reviewing it, not creating a new one. So many stupid decisions, and so many unwise ex politicians, who light fires, then wonder where all the trees in the forest went.
interpreting for the dictator said…
Are you now interpreting for the illiterate dictator? I thought that was the job of qorvis?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Interpreter ... We all interpret, even you. Isn't that what you are doing in asking me this question? Isn't that what my blog is all about? Trying to explain what is happening and why. And isn't that why I welcome your comments? To allow you (and other readers) to interpret things as you all see it?

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