Snippets Thursday September 4th
The Battle for iTaukei Votes, an interesting and informative Fiji Sun article that accuses SODELPA of spreading misinformation in the villages about race, land and religion, all issues that are fully protected in the Constitution.
The strategy, according to the author, is to avoid large meetings where what is said can be challenged, and instead hold numerous small "pocket" meetings where whatever the speaker says is less likely to to be challenged.
The article also puts to bed the notion that indigenous rights can be changed by simple parliamentary majorities. In reality, the rights can only be changed by a 75% majority in Parliament and, as a double check, a referendum in which 75% of the people vote for change.
Will we still be able to pray to Jesus if FijiFirst wins? This question put to the PM tells a great deal about the malicious nonsense some politicians are telling the less educated.
"I have been asked if people will still be able to pray to Jesus if FijiFirst wins. Of course, we will be. These are the types of questions that are indicative of the lies that these people are spreading. I have repeatedly told people that if the politicians do this to you now, they will lie to you when they are in Parliament. They will have nothing constructive to say when they are in Parliament.?
Rabuka comes close to inciting violence. 1987 Coup leader and former PM Sitiveni Rabuka has set the cat among the pigeons again. He's now saying that if anything happens to the Fiji soliers help hostage in Syria, there could be a backlash targeting Muslims in Fiji. Army Commander Brig.Gen.Mosese Tikoitoga has condemned the remark as irresponsible and sick, He thought the comments were bordering on inciting violence.
Qarase safe in USA. SODELPA has advised Laisenia Qarase to stay in the USA because they say they have been reliably informed he could be arrested if he returns to Fiji. This is a good political move by SODELPA.They can gain advantage from the rumour of the arrest and keep Qarase in the USA where he's less likely to make any further unguarded statements that can damage the SODELPA campaign.
Postal voting abuses? A complaint by an elderly couple that the DHL courier delivering their voting papers tried to get them to vote for FijiFirst is being investigated by the Electoral Office and the police.
Police Chief of Operations, ACP Rusiate Tudravu confirms they are conducting initial investigations into allegations of tampering with postal ballots from a registered voter at Robertson Road in Suva. The allegation is against the courier official who is alleged to have opened the envelopes in front of the complainant and then allegedly told the voter to tick a particular candidates’ number. Police have conducted the initial investigation and have recorded the complainant’s statement and the matter will be forwarded to FICAC - See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/22721/alleged-incident-on-postal-voting-referred-to-ficac-#sthash.2PX1zHH3.dpuf
Some Thick Comments. Elizabeth Lomani on Facebook asks why should the taxpayers pay for the reconstruction of the Denarau Bridge which is on private property and for use of tourists and Denarau residents? She says is it an abuse of taxpayer money.
Answer: The bridge will boosts Fiji tourism and the money and employment it provides. It is also a link to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.
Some other pearlers:
"Since Rev. Banivanua and the late Rev. Waqairaru came from the same village they would share the same values and principles."
"I'm guessing all my Lau people will be voting for Sodelpa on this election....Am I right or Am I right :)" -- Na Driadria in Facebook.
"Crosbie, Why on earth are you bringing the ethnicity, aka 'race', of the candidates to the fore? You, who claim to espouse the ideals of a non racial society, seem intent on digging up every last vestige of race you can find. I find your position incredible - and one which smacks of no little hypocrisy. Please concentrate your analysis on the quality of the individual candidates, not their age, race, gender or religion."
Answer: The age, race and gender of candidates is important. If it weren't, the SODELPA line up would not be almost all Taukei. Acknowledging the reality of gender is not sexist and neither is acknowledging the reality of race racist. Fiji needs a good balance in parliament
Poverty Benefit Numbers Treble. Some 60,000 people now receive these benefits, up from 21,000 a year ago. The increase is due to a change in eligibility. Before the current reforms, monthly assistance was only provided to one member of the family. Now, up to four members are eligible with each receiving a maximum allowance is $150 per month which includes the $30 food voucher.
Speaking to a very specific audience. Mahendra Chaudhry told an audience in Labasa that his first priority in government would be to pay sugarcane farmers a fair price for their cane, make the lease renewals, and focus on reviving rice farming.
Not so subtle. Any process or event can be undermined by citing minor happenings as if they were typical. A pre-polling report that an elderly lady with poor eye sight wasn't sure if she'd ticked the right number, or another that people had to walk two kilometers to vote, or that some people were away in Suva and couldn't vote fall into this category. Homely, factually correct stories that can give a quite incorrect impression of most voter's experiences. I hope this was not their intention!
India and PNG have still to confirm their observer status in the election. They are apparently still studying the terms of reference.
Candidate list. Here's the http://www.electionsfiji.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2014-National-Candidates-List-2.pdf link to the final list