Monday, February 20, 2012

Forever Positive in its Criticisms and Suggestions: CCF, The Voice of Moderate Fiji

 Taking Ownership of the Constitution Making Processes 

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum stresses that the processes for formulating Fiji’s next Constitution must be led by the citizens of Fiji and people are urged to start talking and discussing in their homes, villages, religious and social groups on how to get involved.

CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki says that the people must take ownership and prepare to make constructive contribution in the Constitutional Consultation process from the drafting to having a final say on the contents of the document.

“A unique opportunity presents itself to all Fijians to build a sustainable democracy for this country through a Constitution which takes into accounts the dreams and aspirations of all the people of Fiji,” says Reverend Yabaki.
CCF stresses that the Bainimarama government must ensure that the processes are participatory and not just consultative and the end result is a document made by the people by encouraging submissions on the content of the Constitution from all sectors of our society.
 CCF has identified what we believe are ideal guiding principles which should be adopted in the Constitution consultation processes and pave the way towards having a legitimate document in the lead up to elections in 2014.
 CCF recommends that:

  • The process for developing a Constitution for Fiji should begin immediately in order to meet the deadline set for holding democratic elections in September 2014.
  • The process should seek to develop a Constitution for Fiji, building upon the worthy values and lessons from previous approaches.
  • An Independent Constitution Commission should be established to direct and oversee the process for developing a Constitution for Fiji.
  • A code based on core set of good governance principles should be agreed and used to guide the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji. (E.g. transparency, accountability, inclusivity etc)
  • As much as possible the process must allow for all citizens including ethnic minorities and marginalized groups to have their views represented.
  • The process for developing a Constitution for Fiji should begin with an extensive programme of civic education. Civic education should also be incorporated in to the national curriculum of all schools in Fiji.
  • All issues, however contentious, should be open to discussion during the Constitution development process.
  • All laws that restrict free and open discussion should be lifted during the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji. It must be noted that the provisions under the Public Order Act of 1969 are sufficient.
  • Views and submissions to help inform the development for a Constitution for Fiji should be encouraged in every possible format and that the means for putting forward views should be effectively communicated to citizens.
  • The role of the international community should be to provide the relevant resources and funding as well observing and monitoring the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji.The role of external experts should be limited to providing technical advice during the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji.
The role of Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations during the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji should include:
  • Civic education
  • Advocacy
  • Public participation
  • Lobbying
  • Creating submissions
  • Consulting with the State
  • Representing marginalized groups
The role of the police and military should be limited to maintaining law, order and security during the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji.

A Constituent Assembly should be established to approve and adopt the Constitution for Fiji. With options for a referendum, a transitional government or a government nominated by the Citizens’ Assembly also being considered.

“It is our hope, that every citizen will stand up and have their voices heard in every stage of the constitution making process as it is the right of every individual – regardless of ethnicity, faith, gender or sexual orientation – to take part in the process of creating laws which will lead to lasting peace and democracy. This is a right enshrined in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states Everyone has the Right to participate in government and free elections,” says Reverend Yabaki.

Reverend Akuila Yabaki


Anonymous said...

positive criticism?!? This is all well and good and the intentions are noble, but even the CCF know they may be completely ignored like everyone else who isn't in step with the regime rather myopic views.

Anonymous said...

Positive or dreaming ? When did the current government allow anyone to be independant ? Accountable, transparent and inclusive....ummm sorry these are just words in the long forgotten peoples charter (the same dociment that ecognised the current constitution as the ultimate rule of law).

I'm sure there will be a new constitution and i am sure government/military/police will consult (eg tell) people about it. Beyond that the the Rev is dreaming.

regime said...

Positive yes but have hey really had any effect to date ?

Sure Rev said...

What a joke. "This is a right enshrined in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Where has he been living the last 5+ years. No such rights exist in Fiji and little evidence exist of them magically existing anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking indeed if you believe the CCF's recommendations will be realised.

I can't see the regime allowing the following two recommendations, given their track record to date:

"All issues, however contentious, should be open to discussion during the Constitution development process."

"The role of the police and military should be limited to maintaining law, order and security during the process of developing a Constitution for Fiji."

One Party State said...

Ian Simpson , Rogorua, Taveuni

I will advocate for a "one party" state that is all inclusive. Every 18 year old and above of both genders, of every racial group can participate on an equal basis.

The constitution of the party is our National Constitution.
As a starting point, the present People's charter would suffice as an interim.

Our dear Reverend seemed to have a problem grasping my proposal of a "one party" state, and I am sure many others will have the same difficulty.

A "one party state" is democratic and a legitimate alternative to the Weatminister multiparty system.

In my opinion the Westminster system has utterly failed us as a people these past 40 years as it has not delivered us a functional state and caused division rather than unity.

Our past reality to date has been "multi party system" with a facade of democracy, "dictatorship" with nil democracy.
I am proposing a one party state with full and absolute democracy.

I think I can say that there is zero support for a "dictatorship" without end.

That leaves us with two alternatives.

I now beg the next question of our dear reverend, will the CCF equally fund and support the proposal of a "one party state" option, and offer the two options, "Westminster multiparty state" vs. "one party state" in a referendum by the people.

The present army in Fiji will become The People's Defence Force of Fiji. The PDF will swear allegiance to the Peoples Congress.

At this point we need the FMF to support the CCF to bring about an open and frank consultative process for our future.

Meanwhile, did the starters gun go, or did I just jump the gun.

Bula Viti
Bula mai Taveuni.

Anonymous said...

As usual for the CCF: high sentiments grounded in naivete and ending in futility.

s/ Dakuwaqa

One Party State said...

End of Para.2 should read...interim manifesto.

Jimmy the One. said...

Fact is, the Coup has happened. No amount of whining is going to change that.No half baked conspiracy theory proposed by the likes of Victor Lal as "fact" is of any consequence. I think the Reverend has recognized the irreversibility of the act. For all who are genuinly interested in Fiji, as he appears to be, the next step is to move forward. I personally think the CCF recommendations are quite practical and consistent with a democratic process. These are mere recommendations, perhaps they may never come to fruitation but that is not the point.