Auckland Welcomes Bainimarama: 30 Protesters, Over a Thousand Supporters

Saturday 9th August. "One picture is worth a thousand words."

Comments

Anonymous said…
I wonder if this rattles the cage for Sodelpa?
Anonymous said…
This will rattle the cages of all democratic parties as Hitler's NSDAP has rattled all the cages in Germany in the 30ies. The result of this cage rattling has been very well documented and the final outcome was - well how shall I say - not really good.
Anonymous said…
Mere attendance at a political meeting cannot be termed support for the speaker. Many of the attendees may have gone to hear Bainimarama speak in order to judge for themselves how they should consider his message, rather than relying on media reports.

If a poll had been taken before or, particularly, after the meeting it would have allowed a clearer understanding of how those attendees viewed Bainimarama. If the other major parties intend to have similar meetings in Australia and NZ attendance numbers at those meetings could assist in providing a useful comparison. If not, then the idea of support is, at best, mere speculation.

If this article was written by Minfo then their speculation is understandable. If it was written by Crosbie then his speculation is at odds with reasonable academic analysis and rather disappointing in view of the motes he sees in the eyes of many other academics.
Bill wadely said…
What you smoking bro? You don't make sense.

Go take two panadol and you will feel better in the morning.

Anonymous said…
Hey Bill
Glad you could get to the foot washers convention?
Bill wadely said…
No, I am just trying to decipher Anon @ 8.36 above. You must have a greater metaphysical tuning than I, coz I cant make any sense of what he is saying. ' "Reasonable academic analysis'"...my arse!
Bill wadely said…
BTW, Its there for the kissing ..
Anonymous said…
@Bill wadely-
I have to agree with you here as I don't think the contibution made by Annon@8.36 makes complete sense or is in anyway succint at ll. I have to throw in here though that it would be interesting if there was a poll conducted "before and after" speech to accurately measure the level of support versus those that were there to listen to his message (i.e the undecided voters).
But the bottom line is, when comparing the huge crowd (2,000 according to Stuff.co.nz) that attended Bainimarama's rally versus under 200 (according to my Sodelpa supporter who attended the meeting) who turned up for Qarase's Sodelpa meeting in Auckland, the writing is on the wall. Sodelpa supporters who protested at the event (supported by Mana Party) here in New Zealand reached only 30 people according to TVNZ. For the sake of inclusiveness lets throw in PDP (Felix Anthony's Rally) where approx 100 attended.
I don't think you even need a "reasonable academic analysis" to work that out. Maybe its not Crosbie's analysis that is at odd here but more like you need to get in touch with reality.
Anonymous said…
Only major NZ Political parties such as National and labour enjoy the sort of attendance and reception that Frank got at Manukau Events Centre; notwithstanding the 20 or so protestors.
Bill wadely said…
@ Anon 12:20 Get in touch with reality? I am trying to understand what Anon @8.36 is saying. I am sure those 2000 who turned were not just there to check out Bainimarama's curly hair! They were there to hear from the man himself and make up their own minds. I agree with you; the writing is on the wall. What bugs me though (and pardon me if I extend this argument) is why SODELPA (or what many on the streets here in Fiji refer to as the "So Help Me God Party") ...why on earth have they wrapped Mrs Kepa in cotton wool and wheeled out LQ as their lead spokesman? People cant vote for him, so why present him as the public face of their campaign? Any thoughts bro?
Anonymous said…
Bula Bill-
Let me clarify that my statement on "getting in touch with reality", was not aimed at you but @8.36.

To be brutally honest about your question, reference the use of LQ as the face of SODELPA's campaign is something that has baffled me from the outset. I have tried to work out the thinking process of their strategic team and my assumption is they are trying to capitalise on the "sympathy" votes towards Qarase especially by the I'Taukei given the treatment dished out to him by the current regime especially Frank. We I'Taukeis are quite emotional people hence my reasoning. Additionally, the fact that he was a Prime Minister who got deposed, he would have had an in-built relationship with Fiji's population already in existence prior to the 2006 coup. The issue with this is that Qarase was found guilty for corruption and as a result he has a negative stigma attached to him. Although Sodelpa and anti-regime supporters would argue that he was found guilty under an illegal regime. But when analysing the current situation especially the effectiveness of party campaigns, I think this will do more harm than good for Sodelpa. Firstly, Mrs Kepa as the party leader (and if Sodelpa makes up or is part of the next government post-election), she needs to start building her profile now as a decisive and strong leader. Whilst I acknowledge her traditional leadership quality as the high chief of my confederacy Burebasaga, political leadership is a different ball game. Personally, I would have liked her to be the face and be more vocal because currently I think the other political party leaders are doing much better than her as an individual. Thoughts?
Bill wadely said…
Isa, vinaka vakalevu Naita. Thank you for your explanation. I agree with everything you say. To level the playing field (so to speak) the MRTD has got to speak out!! ...that's the frustration for swinging voters like me who are outside (I live in Rockhampton, QLD). She is remaining silent and relying on others to present!. Why must she remain cocooned in wool? I agree with you that she "needs to start building her profile now as a decisive and strong leader." She cant do that by remaining silent and let others like LQ be the public face of their campaign. I think SODELPA is miscalculating badly. Oqori na noqu nanuma. Ni Kalougata i'saka tiko tiko Ratu Naita.
Anonymous said…
@Bill wadely-

Cola naita. I did forget to add another observation in my previous post. SODELPA (and most Fijians in general) don't realise that career military officers are highly trained when it comes to stratergising and "out-manouvering". Shaping the so called "battlefield" and channeling targets into areas where you could maximise their demise is a "cup of tea" for well trained officers. It is an art form and I have no doubt in my mind that Frank with other military officers in his team would be utilising these principles (and skills) in their planning. Due to numerous coups in Fiji, the general public have a negative perception on those that wear green and as a result do not acknowledge the skills they have (generally speaking). To show you how detail and thorough this process is, if you look at FijiFirst's campaign trail, they seem in most cases to be following locations where SODELPA has been. This is a very smart strategy as most Fijians especially in rural areas (no pun intended) tend to remember the last party or person who has spoken to them without always remembering the key messages. It would be remiss of me not to highlight that Fiji's population (in general) are now more aware politically. But by following the SODELPA track with the objective of correcting "misinformation", FijiFirst is leaving "no stones unturned". Their pitch is very positive and consistently they point voters to the future. On the other hand, SODELPA ( even Labour and PDP to some degree) keep reminding people about the past to win votes. i.e 2006 coup. The problem with this strategy is that most of the SODELPA candidates/stalwarts had a hand in the earlier 2000 coup. Unfortunately for them when you remind people about a coup, the other coups come into the picture as well. What am saying is, you cannot discuss one particular coup in isolation. For Chaudhary, his issue is twofold. 1) Charged and found guilty with his millions in Aussie. 2) He was part of the initial make-up of this regime as a minister. People remember these things and unfortunately for him, he is seen as a chameleon by most people. Personally, I would have liked some robust, positive and a more calculated challenge by other parties towards FijiFirst. SODELPA and Labour Party in my view have both made huge blunders by including LQ and Mahen as the face of their campaigns. I would have put in totally new faces who don't carry any political baggages with them. At least this would ensure that when talking about past coups to win votes, candidates are squeaky clean.
Vosota ni balavu valailai na tali magimagi. Kalougata tiko Ratu Naita.
Anonymous said…
What a wonderful piece of 'stratergising'(sic). An intellectual giant.
Anonymous said…
What a funny guy!
Bill wadely said…
Vinaka vakalevu Naita. Madila nomuni vakamacala, So what we have here is a calculated, calibrated approach by First First using their best brains including the ex military types. But you would expect the 'So Help Me God' Party to use the same approach. After all they too have ex military types in their line up eg Saumatua, Tikoca, Tagivetaua, Ratuki with others like Rabuka and Waqausa also in their heirarchy. Are they not capable of strategising in the same way the FF have done? Or is it that they are deferring too much to former PM LQ to determine the direction? (he has made some silly comments recently before taking off to the US that may have cost them the elections already). From the sub-text of your post above I am reading that having Ro Teimumu as their leader was not a good idea. She is being increasingly seen in the company of rabid ethno-nationalists like Manasa Lasaro. Tomasi Kanailagi and others. I am not so sure that is a good move strategically as it conveys the impression that she has fallen in with the remnants of the Speight crowd.
Anonymous said…
Cola Naita. You are spot on with the fact that SODELPA too have military officers in their midst who could potentially come up with some good options for their campaign. But you have to look at these ex-officer's military background. Most of them (less Rabuka and Saumatua especially) came through the ranks i.e they became officers through what is termed as "Q-Commission". They did not attend military academies for their initial commissioning course but rather through time (moving from Private to Warrant Officer then commissioned to Officers) became senior officers. The skill that was discussed above is honed in at commissioning courses. In saying that, it does not make them any lesser officers because some of them became really good at their jobs. You will also find that q-commissioned officers follow a different military career path i.e more regimental posting than career officers from the word go whose career usually are operational all the way to strategic posts. Waqausa was Q-commissioned and he certainly was well respected. I hope am not boring you here. I just think it sheds light into my point. Whilst Rabuka would be an excellent military strategies, I am not entirely sure whether his involvement in the party is wanted.
I do agree with you that am not entirely sure whether Ro Teimumu is the right choice considering her support for the 2000 coup plus the current political climate in Fiji where chiefs now need to earn respect politically rather then relying entirely on their traditional status for guaranteed respect and support.
Sa dri yani!
Bill wadely said…
Vinaka Naita. So it seems that FF have all the 'thinkers' with more youth and imagination on their side c.f. the 'So Help Me God Party' with their older men and women still trapped in the race-based politics of the 1970 -1990's. So far Ro Teimumu has failed to provide a unifying vision for Fiji. Thats their main problem. Using LQ as their 'go to' man and main mouthpiece is another problem - he keeps bringing up divisive politics of the past that has failed Fiji. Which brings me back to the military. SODELPA has said that there is a need for the military to reconcile with the people and that they will need to start with a comprehensive review of the military. A key issue will be who will be on the panel to conduct the review? It has to be people with the right background in strategy (which will preclude those 'Q Commissioned' officers you mention). They will also have to be people with whom the RFMF and the Government trusts and can work with. So by establishing the criteria for such a review, we are substantially narrowing down the field of potential candidates. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Anonymous said…
Yadra Naita. Am I right in assuming that the review is required due to military's part in the past 3 coups? (i.e partial and full involvement). I just need a bit of clarity on the reason/s for review to be able to answer your question.
Bill wadely said…
Ni yadra Nite, The SODELPA manifesto mentions that it is committed to a 'comprehensive review of the RFMF roles'. I guess until the terms of reference (TOR) are sorted out, or until SODELPA provides more clarification, we will not know what the Review's objective are. I agree that there needs to be a wider defence & security review of some sort aimed at consolidating democracy in the post-September 2014 Fiji. The role of the RFMF has to be be defined more precisely and tied to the idea of the 'national interest' which has to be also defined more clearly. That the military role is left to a bland statement as being responsible for the "well being" of Fiji and its citizens s insufficeint, in my view and could be the cause of confusion and...Heaven forbid...more military intervention in politics. Democracy needs to be consolidated in the post-September Fiji and we need to look at ways and means to do so. The military role in society must be more clearly defined. In doing so, the military has to be involved and it must be able to work with the Review Team. Which then goes back to the issue of who should be on the Team. For example, should Rabuka or Sam Saumatua be on that team, given that they were not 'Q commissioned' unlike many others? Will the RFMF be able to work with these guys?
Anonymous said…
Vinaka Nite. I agree with you that SODELPA needs to clarify the TOR for review and its objective short and long-term. In terms of the make-up of the review team, I think it should be made up of a mixture of people from different backgrounds. I would even go as far as including overseas ex-military officers in the review team especially those from New Zealand as the model utilised by RFMF is based on the light-infantry New Zealand Army model. At one point, most military analyst argued that RFMF was a mirror-image of the NZ Army. This could be a direct reflection of having the first few RFMF Commanders seconded from the NZ Army. Example was Col Rennie who was the first Commanding Officer of the NZSAS. Their inclusion could give RFMF what some may term as a "reboot" to the initial formation of the institution. I wouldn't include Rabuka in the review for the mere fact that he is responsible for the so called "coup culture". Col Saumatua is now too ingrained into politics. People in the Review Team must be neutral with no political affiliations.
Bill wadely said…
Vinaka Naita. I am thinking Ex- RFMF officers overseas and I am trying to put names to them. My ex Army contacts here have come up with such names as : Colonels Pio Wong, Jone Baledrokadroka, Filipo Taraikiniknii, Ratu Naulu Mataitini, Bill Seruvakula, Wame Waqanivavalagi etc...all top officers who were not 'Q commissioned' and who have a good record of serviced (?). Except for Wong and Baledrokadroka (should we write them off the Panel?) the former officers so named would fit into your category of being "neutral with no political affiliations'. Sorry to narrow this down to individual personalities but thats the way we have to approach it if the SODELPA proposal is to be taken seriously. We, as voters, have to assess in our own minds, whether their proposals are indeed workable. In the Fiji context, personalities are indeed important The issue of TRUST is important. If the RFMF is to come to the party with regard to consolidating democracy in the 'new Fiji' then we have to find the right people to help us determine where we are at and plot the way forward. It all boils don to personalities acceptable to the RFMF coz they are the ones we have to placate in the final analysis. Ni kalougata tiko na wekaqu.
Anonymous said…
This has been an engaging conversation that addresses an important issue that Bill has identified and has engaged in with 'Ratu Naita' the Anon personality on this blog. Thank you both for your insights. Please continue to educate us with your special knowledge.We will follow your analysis and takes on the situation in Fiji with great interest. Thank you both for sharing
i-Taulei rules said…
Keep paying your taxes footwashers so the i-Taukei military can grow from strength to strength. i-Taukei military, GCC or Methodist church - it will always be one of them - take your pick.
Anonymous said…
I Taulei Rules.

Hey dude theres a place directly above suva prison where you can go and have a checkup or admitted..
Bill wadely said…
I guess I have asjed too personal a question...that Ratu Nite is not prepared to engage further.....but they are the sorts of questions we should ask. I mean the 'So Help Me God Party' (SODELPA) have said in their manifesto that they will conduct a 'comprehensive review' of the RFMF...but when we come to the practicalities of it....by establishing who are the sorts of people who should conduct such a review....we are met with SILENCE! We are told that 'overseas officers' should be in that team...but when we ask for names...there is SILENCE. Why? No one is prepared to suggest people who should be part of such a proposed review. Maybe SODELPA put the idea up as a 'straw man'? Which says a lot about the veracity of their manifesto. No one has really thought it through to its practical and workable level! Thats the problem with Fiji..
Anonymous said…
Bula Naita. Sorry for the delay in reply as I haven't had the opportunity to "process " your last post prior to sharing my thoughts. Osooso valailai na mua ni macawa sa oti.
To answer your question of who I think should be in the review team; firstly it is of paramount importance that its make-up has total credibility, is multi-racial and includes both genders. Personally this would be my "dream team". Head of Review: Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi. Deputy Head of Review: Brigadier Gen (Ret) Ian Thorpe (NZ Army). Civilian Members: Joketani Cokanasiga, Mahendra Chaudhary or Prof Biman, Akuila Yabaki and another member (who needs to be a female nominee). Miltary (or ex) members should include: Col (Ret) John Sanday, Bill Seruvakula, Naulu Mataitini, Current Land Force Commander OR Chief of Staff Strategy and an Australian Army Senior Officer. I am tempted to throw in one of the Asst Police Commissioners in the "mix" just to ensure there is a clarity of role distinction between Police and Army.
As highlighted in one of my earlier post, having a comprehensive review should only be one of the tasks undertaken by Fiji to rid itself off the coup culture.
Thoughts Naita?
Anonymous said…
Thank you for responding Ratu Naita. I acknowledge that this issue has moved on in Crosbie's blogsite. But I have to say that having washed-up politicians and ex judges with no idea of military strategy will end up with a political document of no instrumental value at all. I mean, Ian Thorpe was the architect of the 1991 'Defending Fiji' Defence policy that went nowhere. His ideas were outmoded and highly dangerous eg Fiji should consider sinking hostile ships in its EEZ. Really? How would they do that? Acquiring submarines? Can you imagine people like Biman Prasad, Akuila Yabaki, Jo Cokanasiga & Mahendra Chauhdry etc ever agreeing on anything? I would also question the qualifications of ex military officers you mentioned. I like the idea of an overseas expert leading the Review backed up by local experts. They should all be academics with some local well qualified military officers as part of the team.
Anonymous said…
Why not let the University of Fiji be tasked with leading this exercise? I am thinking their Centre for International & Regional Relations (whatever their title is) should be tasked with, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, coming up with draft proposal including Terms of Reference and composition?
Anonymous said…
AnonymousThursday, August 21, 2014 at 12:53:00 AM GMT+12

Bula Vinaka Kemuni. You are dead right certainly the blogsite has moved on but I thought my naita Bill wadely deserved a reply considering the "real issue" which he raised (apart from the fact that he is my Naita)
Like Bill wadely, I think your contribution/post is interesting and does carry some weight. At the same time, we could probably engage for a while on this topic whilst the blogsite keeps moving (pun intended). I have to admit that your concern reference Chaudhary, Biman and Co not coming to an agreeance is realistic. But my reason for including Chaudhary and Biman was to include our Indian brothers and sisters perspective although there maybe someone else with the same origin who could do the job better. But what's more important is that Fijians with Indian origin are part of the review process as they have been the targets of the 87 and 2000 coups with military being used as an instrument. In terms of ex-judges, I thought of Ratu Joni as a good choice because he is generally well respected in Fiji and certainly abroad and I trust that he is level headed enough to lead such an important review although some may argue that his support for the group that wanted Fiji to be a christian state brings my choice into question. I am not a fan of an overseas expert leading the review because history has proven that these so called experts come with "tainted glasses" and in most cases already have a made-up solution what they think should be the answer in Fiji with lack of local knowledge. In addition, the underlying political objectives of their respective governments becomes a priority in some cases and when it comes to Fiji's military, I bet my bottom dollar this would be the case.This is a Fijian problem and as such needs a Fijian solution.
Ex-military officers I have named in my line-up can hold themselves in an academic environment. Sanday, Bill and Mataitini certainly have qualifications above Masters Degree level but its their military knowledge is why they are there. Bill Seruvakula has an intimate knowledge on the planning, execution and post-2000 coup. He certainly brings in the operational expertise as he was "there and done" it as Commanding Officer 3FIR.
Sa dri yani !!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for insights, I agree with you that "This is a Fijian problem and as such needs a Fijian solution". We need people who understand the security problem in Fiji. Having those officers you name involved in some way would add to the credibility of the whole exercise. More importantly, it will help engender trust of the process by the military. Vinaka

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