Monday 18 August: 30 Days to Go
"The Multinational Observation Group will have freedom of movement throughout Fiji and will communicate with the Fijian Government, political parties and other social and political organisations in Fiji. As invited by Fiji, it will assess whether the outcome of the general election broadly represents the will of the Fijian voters." -- Based on Island Business.
But Joseph Swanson writing in the blog Fiji Economic Forum thinks the the Observer Group will fail in its mission: "This is how we will be cheated during the elections.....if the election ballad papers are counted electronically.....this is the way to cheat on the figures.....it does not matter who will be observing (UN NZ or Aust)......it will be done right under their eyes and they will not see it....this is not speculation....this is a fact.....like it or not. This system was banned in America,sold to India....and rumor has it that it is now in Fiji. (dont know who bought it here...???) The guy I suspect is a computer expert...??? and he tends to favor Frank (due to favors etc.) people wake up....start thinking. - at Novotel Suva Lami Bay."
Joseph, there will be no more than 500 people a polling station and the ballot papers will not be counted electronically. They will be counted by hand in the presence of party invigilators!
BEDDOES SAYS QARASE DID NOT MEAN TO ATTACK ISLAM in his previously reported comment about candidate numbers starting at 135 and the Qu'an verse of the same number, "He was simply trying ask and understand why start at 135,” he says. Nor does he have any problem with Qarase's statement that God has given this land to the i-Taukei.
CORRUPTION EXPOSED: TWO JAILED FOR ABUSE OF OFFICE. The High Court has sentenced two former senior Native Land Trust Board officials, Keni Dakauidreketi and Kalivati Bakani, to six and four years imprisonment for abuse of office, to which they pleaded guilty.
The charges resulted from the two men facilitating loans for Ballu Khan's IT company Pacific Connex through NLTB's commercial arm Vanua Development Corporation Limited using extinct mataqali funds, trust funds and grants. The two also provided security for a loan and an overdraft facility for Pacific Connex. $5million of public funds, mostly those belonging to iTaukei landowners, had been given to Pacific Connex of which only $200,000 was returned.
According to the order of events, when VDCL was formed to invest landowners' money, a proposal was given to the NLTB by Pacific Connex for a $4.6m software upgrade.
Pacific Connex had also proposed to VDCL that it buy shares in the company. The resolution was passed and VDCL became 51 per cent shareholder. Bakani and Dakuidreketi became directors on the Pacific Connex Board.
LACK OF INTEREST IN GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS. In reporting the results of the latest Tebbutt poll, the Fiji Times noted a general lack of interest, despite which some political parties have its restoration high on their agenda. :The Tebbutt-Times survey results may strongly indicate the people's views on governing bodies and leadership values, and the fact that having a GCC around is really not a matter of priority or necessity, anymore .... It would also be interesting to see the role the GCC will play in a modern Fiji, if any political party that wins the general election decides to bring it back."
The Tebbutt poll of 1047 people randomly selected in the conurbations of Lami to Nausori, and Nadi to Ba found 48% supporting the GCC restoration, with 33% against, 15% who could not care, and 4% who declined to answer. Of those supporting its restoration, more were women (51 to 44%) and Taukei (65% to Indo-Fijians 30%). Younger generation (18 per cent) between the ages of 18 to 24 years said they did not care about the reinstatement of the GCC.
MAKARETA WAQAVONOVONO, a prominent lawyer and former senior civil servant, has been prevented from standing as an election candidate because she has not been continuously in Fiji for the past two years. She has been working for AusAid in the Solomons and studying in Australia for over 18 months in the previous two years. Other people who do not meet the two year requirement, however, can stand as candidates if they were overseas on government business. And all overseas Fiji citizens can register to vote irrespective of the time they've lived overseas.
Makareta's exclusion was the result of a last minute law change on 31 July, soon after it was announced she would be a candidate for the National Federation Party, but the events could be coincidental.
I have argued against her exclusion before but would now add my voice to Wadan Narsey's. Makareta has skills that could contribute much to a future parliament. If FijiFirst forms the new government, as seems likely, the opposition party most likely to join it in opposing SODELPA is the NFP. The exclusion ruling seems targeted, petty — and tactically unwise.
The exclusion seems especially ironic given PSC Permanent Secretary Parmesh Chand's appeal to civil servants who have returned home from overseas trainings to share their knowledge once they return.
Future collaboration between FFP and NFP may also be heralded by the late Siddiq Koya's lawyer sons standing against each other Faiyaz Koya standing for FFP and Faizal Koya for the NFP.