What Support Does Bainimarama Have?


Just guessing.
By Crosbie Walsh

It is difficult and probably impossible to gauge the level of support for the Bainimarama government and its prospects of winning the 2014 election.

Its opponents claim they have the support but there's no way of gauging this either. Votes cast in the 2006 election may be cast very differently in 2014.

"Navosavakadua" writing in the relatively well balanced anti-blog Fiji Today, thinks the PM is assured of 27% of the vote due to the "Stockholm syndrome," the condition that causes victims to identify with their captors. "If so", he writes, "what this means is that the highest vote he can hope for is 27% because the rest of us do not feel grateful to our captor." My view would be that with this supposed "bedrock" support —and the support that Navosavakadua does  not acknowledge— the PM should be well over the 50% mark. But we are both guessing.

Surprised that 90% supported FB
What we do have is the occasional informal 'survey' such as the one made as a comment on my recent Ratu Joni posting. The writer said that when he was  in his home town in the West, he was surprised that 90% of those he asked said they supported FB and his party. They mentioned stability, assistance to the poor, school fees and the elderly, infrastructure, the decline in crime and equality for all Fijians as their reasons.

There is also the regular news that one village, settlement or tikina after another says it will support Bainimarama.  But, again, this may be, as his opponents claim, only because they hope to benefit from the Government's development activities. Once the road, bridge, telecentre or other benefits are in place, they may revert to their earlier loyalties.   For the moment, all we can do is report what is being reported.

In the last week Government had support from the Yasawas that I reported on Monday
Now we have reports from Tailevu North, formerly a Speight and SDL stronghold,  and Ba province.

Tailevu North
Three elders from Delasui and Navunisole villages and Namalata tikina in Tailevu North said they want the changes being brought about by the Bainimarama Government to continue because past governments had used favouritism as a weapon to gain the support of the people and to put in place changes for only some.

They wanted a new type of leadership; one that was truly people-oriented. “We the people of Namalata would like this leadership to continue and for that we will vote for the Prime Minister and his party to lead the country after the 2014 general elections,” Ratu Isaia said.

Mr Kalou said his people supported the new leadership displayed by the Prime Minister. “I must admit that we now have a leader that cares for all Fijians,” The "special treatments given only to some chiefs by past governments had ended. The Prime Minister had treated all Fijians equally and this, he said, “is the way forward the people of Navunisole. This  is why we will vote for Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama and his party for the new government during the 2014 elections."

Ratu Mikaele said he supported the words of Mr Kalou and Ratu Isaia and for his people they were receiving Government help; something that they were denied in past years. He said past governments had their own people to look after and the majority were left in the dark.Now we have a new political direction that had the support of the people. People in the rural areas now having access to clean drinking water, electricity and good roads. He said they were now also provided with good health care and quality education.

Ba Province
 In Ba, people living in Tauvegavega and Koronubu settlements in Ba are reported to support the new constitution and Government initiatives to assist farmers. according to Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni, who visited them last week.  The Minister said  that for the first time ever Fiji’s Constitution has incorporated social issues, the rights and interests of the persons with disabilities .. children and senior citizens."

Koronubu is a multicultural sugar-growing area with 765 sugarcane gangs, vegetable growers and dairy farmers. District advisory councillor  Deo Sharan said the people in the settlement, where "everyone lives in peace and unity",  support the new Constitution. They are grateful for the bus fare scheme, social pension scheme and government’s commitment towards addressing the plight of sugarcane farmers. "We support the Bainimarama government and we hope to see this government continue for the many years to come,” he said.

Tauvegavega Women’s Group president Mrs Kelera Drodro welcomed the inclusion of the rights of all Fijians, including women, in the new constitution. "Women contribute towards national development and it’s important that they read and understand the new Constitution. The new Constitution treats everyone equally and there is no discrimination based on race or gender. Everyone is seen equally and for the first time. This is really encouraging”.

Yes.  They could just be trying to please the Minister, but ....


Comments

Anonymous said…
But... At last a non race based and a bread and butter issues government?
beatricew11 said…
so do you think the current regime has been very specific in their threats throught their rule, both clear and implied that you are required to publicly support the regime and not dare to criticise their practices or policies or else, plays a role in this?? The fact is people have no chice whether they support or not as there has been no mechanism to get rid of the regime or demand any sort of public accountability form them for 7 years. As afrr as I far as I can see the regime is great at pork-barrelling.
Anonymous said…
Well in 2006 the electorate was told vote for us or our thugs will beat the hell out of you so I wonder if we had a choice to change the government then? Threats, public service nationalist bias, complicity of foreign governments and corruption blocked our democratic rights. Forgive me if I prefer a more equal government
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John F said…
It is all too obvious that most media in Fiji hold deep grudges against our government and our leaders. They are not supportive of the electoral process devised by our AG with the aim to move Fiji forward and legitimise this government that a vast majority of Fiji’s population loves and wants to stay in power. Under the fair leadership of our AG and his brother the new media authority will ensure that there will be no support for the old corrupt politicians and their pathetic parties. It was also high time that loopholes which allowed foreign misfits such as Prof Edge to incite disaffection with our leaders are being closed. The entire quagmire of foreign funded NGOs such as CCF needs to be drained in order to unify the people of Fiji behind our great leaders. We are not interested in the mean bickering of opposition, we are not interested in the constant criticism of government by unfair and biased media. We want to move the country forward towards a Fiji style democracy with strong leaders and jobs, income and happiness for all those who support the government.
Anonymous said…
...and unhappiness for anyone who does not support government ! Thats always been a keuy objective of government. Make life hard for anyone who dissagree. Reward those who support. No middle ground, this is a military government after all.
John F said…
The fact remains that everyone has a choice in Fiji: Stand behind your leaders and you will be rewarded with a good job and peace. Revolt against the leadership that is supported by the vast majority of people (and I believe that Croz is right predicting a 90% support for the AG and the PM) and you face the consequences. This rule applies everywhere in the world.
Anonymous said…
Rubbish. People are not pursued everywhere in the world just for holiding a different view. In fact debate is valued. You can be for Fiji and not bow and kiss the ass of the AG. And so far the rule of law does not appear to apply to the PM or AG....and certainly not supporters like the PMs brother in law !
John F said…
Your contempt, your hatred for our visionary AG comes clearly through. Why is it that this smart, brave and fair operator attracts so much negative emotions? He joined the PM's revolution as a young lawyer coming from nowhere and has changed more in Fiji than any other leader before him. Thanks to the AG, the government can now ensure that idle land is effectively used under lease arrangements, thanks to the AG our vile and mean media has been reigned in and forced to report the truth about the enormous achievements of our government. The AG has made sure that corrupt politicians cannot stand in elections and has helped to create a race free Fiji where those who are prepared to stand behind his leadership are generously rewarded. He and his entire family work relentlessly to move the country forward. Sure they deserve to be adequately compensated for their efforts and I suspect that most of the negative vibes are nothing but jealousy. A man that holds more than 20 government posts surely deserves a decent salary and a few perks don't you think? I hear all these stories about him taking kick-backs, trying to sell state owned assets to get even more money but I don't believe a word of this. The AG is honest and dependable, but boy cross him and his principles and you will regret it.
Crosbie Walsh said…
I do wish opponents of the Government would get one important fact right. The release from prison of the "PMs brother-in-law" was a Government act, an act of the executive, not the judiciary. It was similar to the Qarase government shortening the prison terms of some of those found guilty for the 2000 Coup. In both cases, the judiciary acted independently and found the accused guilty and imposed prison sentenced. . In both cases, government shortened the prison sentences. If there is any reason for complaint, it should be directed to Government, not the judiciary.
me ahain said…
Croz, you are correct (on the legal isse) but wrong on the facts. The injustice was that Government(Frank, the military) ensured Francis Kean did not spend a single day in prision. He did not lose his job and he continued to recieve his pay. Not only did he keep his job but he has been promoted sev eral times. That is very very special treatment one can assume becuase he is Franks brother in law or more likely he was a key supporter of the coup. Previous governments may have done similar things (i dont recall zero prision time and promotions but could be wrong) but we should not hold this government to the standard of previous ones. This was meant to be a clean up so we should expect a much higher standard from the current government. We havent seen that with treatment of Kean or Teleni (should have been sacked instead gets a greta offshore role). There are many other examples. Mahen is another - cleared of all wrong doings while in government (expats sent home for daring to report he had done wrong) yet when he fell foul of government suddenly he "has done wrong".

Frank has done many good things. On balance there is less corruption but he has let himself and his government down by these incidents (and earlier ones like his back pay). He clearly does reward family, military men and those who show absolute support without questioning and he has never been transparent.
Anonymous said…
I just don't get it. I have not seen any government on earth, either present or past that would not reward loyalty and prefer to employ people who support their rule and their vision. Why would Fiji be different? Qarase has rewarded his cronies, Mahen employed his son, John Key rewards his investment banker mates, Merkel in Germany rewards BMW with lower emission standards in return for huge donations for her party. And the US, no don't get me started about a system where all yes all political decisions are bought by lobbyists. So please wake up to the facts what governments and politicians are and what they do. Francis Kean is a good man and a loyal soldier. Soldiers are trained to kill people so when he whacked a Whippy he did what he was trained to do. Why would his talents be wasted in prison when he makes such a highly effective and knowledgeable PS for Transport and Public Works?
Anonymous said…
Soldiers are trained to kick to death a civilian lying on the ground ?

Last time I checked all the governments you mention where elected none rose to power by way of a coup.

Anonymous said…
If you read the judgement you will find Mr kean repeatedly kicked Mr Whippy while he was lying on the ground. Guests tried to pull him back but he kept going even after Mr Whippy was limp. Mr Kean struck him serveral times and then chased him.

I don't think the others promoted above did the same. I can't think of anyone else who would have kept their job, remained on full pay and then got promoted after such behaivour.
Crosbie Walsh said…
For the record, I also think Kean should not have been released from prison so early and returned to his previous post so soon. The fight was fully covered in the media. It was a drunken brawl that should be condemned by everyone. He was found guilty of manslaughter and should have served a longer term no matter how good at his job he may be. Clearly, the PM is no saint and in this case, and a few other cases, I think he erred. But, that said, the incident showed the judiciary acted independently and properly, and has continued to do. Government's opponents, and indeed some overseas jurists, wrongly claim otherwise.
thin-skinned, foul-mouthed said…
after you assessment of Kean, i hope you do not cop the same kind of abuse from the thin-skinned, foul-mouthed dictator that Fr Barr did.
Anonymous said…
Barr deserved all he got. He is just another gutless junta slurper hiding behind thugs with guns like the freeloading bludgers taking free trips to Fiji. Gutless cowards all of them - supporting an illegal regime of murderous thieves and cowards and taking free trips to Fiji at the expense of the Fijian poor who have been denied all freedoms including the right to vote. You Mrs Croz are despicable!!!
Anonymous said…
There were many Qarase slurpers and free loaders . Maybe you are one of them? Bitter victim of the derailed gravy train? Racist, corrupt and inefficient Qarase govt deserved all it got. They are equally responsible for the state of affairs today. Unbearable Qarase government is the reason many good people got behind the coup.
Anonymous said…
hello. A girmit slurper just crawled from the swamp?
Anonymous said…
You sound like a displaced loyal Qarsae crony grievously affected by the lost power and privileges.
Correction said…
Correction: should be illiterate girmit slurper.
Anonymous said…
Haha! smart-arse Qarase crony lashing out at shadows. A psycho. Redneck.

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