Friday, 12 September 2014

News and Comments Friday 12 September: Don't Throw Your Vote Away

DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR VOTE. COALITION A POSSIBILITY, Auckland University and former USP academic Dr Steve Ratuva says if the polls published so far are to be trusted, the earlier overwhelming support for the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is slipping.  He says the smaller parties have drawn away support from FijiFirst while the indigenous-back SODELPA has gained ground.

"FijiFirst if it wins, it might win with a very small margin, otherwise it may not have the majority and therefore it needs to have a coalition with someone else. Those five smaller parties and two independents, they can actually become kingmakers if the situation arises where no one gets the majority."

Comment. If Steve is correct, people thinking of voting for one of the minor parties should  very seriously consider whether they want a FijiFirst or SODELPA government. If they vote for one of the minor parties, they could well be helping to make their less preferred major party the next government.  

THE NON-VOTERS. Eleven percent of registered voters did not vote in the 2006 election, despite it being compulsory. A non-scientific FBC poll shows 19% may not vote this time. What might the effect be on the vote outcome next Wednesday? 

A comment published by the blog FijiToday speculates that with FijiFiji ahead in the polls, many FijiFirst voters will not both to vote, and it is true that closely contested elections usually see higher voter turnouts.  In many overseas elections it takes a special effort to get young voters to the polls, and with the voting age now reduced to 18, Fiji has a lot of young voters. My guess (supported by the Tebbutt polls) is that FijiFirst is the most popular party with young voters but this will not help them if the young people lake advantage of the holiday to have a lie in.  I expect Bainimarama to be a clear winner in Sunday's radio debate with Ro Teimumu. He has achievements and policies to talk about. Ro Teimumu will only be able to refer to abstracts and protection for the Taukei.  But I suspect their audience will not include many under 20. They will be socialising elsewhere.  

So, SODELPA does stand a chance of winning, despite the poor poll results, but it will need a low turnout, many young people not voting, and relatively high numbers voting for the minor parties (who might otherwise have voted for FijiFirst} who  it will need as minor coalition partners.if it is to form the next government. 

SPEIGHT AND TIKOITOGA. SODELPA has denied a FijiFirst accusation that it will release coup leader George Speight if elected to Government. They say he was rightly convicted of treason and will serve his sentence.  Which raises an interesting question because they have  objected to the immunity clauses of the 2013 Constitution that protect the Fiji military among others. 

Comment. The question is:  Will a SODELPA Government  revoke the 2013 immunity and charge Tikoitoga and other RFMF leaders of treason?  I'm sure the miitary commander would like to know their answer!

DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC WELLBEING. NFP's Biman Prasad speaking in Labasa, drew a parallel between democracy and economic wellbing and called for a "true" democracy in Fiji that will stimulate economic growth.  

Comment. I like the sentiment but history does not support his argument. Nineteenth century England was nowhere close to a democracy but it launched the Industrial Revolution. Modern day China is not a democracy but it has seen unprecedented economic growth and lifted more people out of poverty than ever previously recorded. And modern day Singapore, with a benign but very imperfect democracy, has transformed  a backward, impoverished island state into an economic powerhouse with a comprehensive welfare system and vastly improved living standards.

As for the "true" democracy, he can't surely be referring to Fiji as it was before the Coup. In the 2006 election his party won nearly 33,000 first preference votes and it didn't win a single seat in Parliament. 

PRIORITIES COMPARED.  "FijiFirst will continue to oppose racial discrimination." -- Bainimarama. "We will bring back i-Taukei and multi-ethnic scholarships." -- Ro Teimumu.  Source: Fiji Live.

CHURCHES AND THE ELECTIONS. An unconfirmed rumour is that some Methodist Churchmen are telling villagers to vote SODELPA.  Seventh Day Adventists have been urged to vote for the party that includes God in its agenda, and Tamani Monster Rarama on Facebook uses Bainimarama's candidate number 279 to identify a verse in Jeremiah, "You came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."  He then links Ro Teimumu's candidate number 317 to Proverbs: "Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. #VOTE_317 :) #VOTEForPEACE :)"  Good gracious! What next?

NEXT.. Epeli Vakalalabure, also on Facebook, recreates history with
"FB AK don't support women!!! they parade them up to the camp make them strip and run laps and torture and rape them. try and tell me I'm lying. vote our women into power." 

Comment. Epeli, you mix a modicum of fact with fiction. The incident occurred in 2007 and involved six or so women who were NGO protesters There was no stripping and no rape. And one of the women identified your hero Ratu Tevita Ului Mara as the officer in charge.

RO TEIMUMU v. VOQERE BAINIMARAMA. The two leaders will  appear on Sunday's Straight Talk programme, first in Taukei  between 6-7pm, and then in English between 7:30-9pm.

WHY QARASE HAS NOT COME HOME.  SODELPA said it has advised its former spokesman Laisenia Qarase to stay in America because there is a warrant out for his arrest when he returns to Fiji. Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald said no such warrant has been issued and Mr Qarase will not be arrested if he returns.

 $10 MILLION FOR TAUKEI TO DEVELOP THEIR LAND. One of.FijiFirst's manifesto policies.

POLICE HAVE APPEALED for more political tolerance following a number of incidents where FjiFirst posters have been torn down or pasted over and a FijiFirst candidate's car vandalised.

WADEN NARSEY SAYS BAINIMARAMA IS LYING about being a pro-poor Government. In a  video on his blog Wadan shows that living standards for the poor deteriorated between 2006 and 2011, which they did, but for some reason that he did not explain  he did not use more recent figures which have shown big improvements in the past four years.

Comment. "What Biman Prasad is not telling the ppl is that in 2006 the tax bracket was 174 + 25% in excess of 10,000 while in 2014 its 7% excess of 16,000. A person with a salary of 20k would have paid 2674 while in 2014 he is only paying 280. A saving of 2,394." -- Epeli Cakau on Facebook.

FLP'S STEVEN SINGH will not be a candidate in the elections after his appeal was declined by the Court. Comment. While correct in law, I think the Electoral Office should have found some way to accept the recommendations of the Electoral Commission that ruled in Singh's favour.

SPEIGHT RUMOUR FALSE. The Opposition blogs reported that George Speight was in hospital after being attacked by other inmates. Corrections Officers say he was not attacked, never went to hospital and is still in prison.

GRASSROOTS. "Mr Bainimarama is the only prime minister that has gone out to grassroots level to talk to the people and hear their grievances. No one else has done that before." -- Villager.

25 fake ID's on Facebook. 
Inciting religious tension between Muslims and Christians in Fiji on person is using 25 fake IDs. He ticks "like" on his own threads and then asks question and answer on his threads. Hello aka John Manson aka Ratu Kisitoni aka De fish aka Shirley Wong aka Rahiman aka Ratu Seru Cakabau aka aka Fiji’s Gandhu aka dildo aka Vudi aka bahahahahah... --posted by  Raman Velji of Nadi
The one election parties
"Out of seven registered parties, it is my assessment that the following parties will have same fate as New Fiji Labour Party. 
People's Democratic Party,  One Fiji Party, and Fiji United Freedom Party. Their natural demise will come quick and these parties will be known as "One Election Parties."
Dual citizenship
"Can't seem to get a yes or no answer to this as issue does affect me and other business partners. Will Sodelpa revoke the dual/multiple citizenship provision currently afforded to many?"
The family way
"FijiFirst. No way. Family First. Vote SODELPA." This person repeated the same message over and over again in a sort time span. Does he think voters are hard of understanding?
From a SODELPA supporter
"Please remember this face!! This face needs to spat at every time you see it!!! I will see nothing wrong if somebody beats her up, even mutilates her. Or burns her house down!!! She must be punished for her crimes." -- Rahul Singh (if that is his real name) writing about Fiji Sun columnist Jyoti Pratibha Sen in Facebook's Fiji Economic Forum, 8 September!
Tax breaks
"What Biman Prasad is not telling the ppl is that in 2006 the tax bracket was 174 + 25% in excess of 10,000 while in 2014 its 7% excess of 16,000. A person with a salary of 20k would have paid 2674 while in 2014 he is only paying 280. A saving of 2,394." --  Epeli Cakau.


  1. Crosbie, there are some arguable points in your latest post:
    1 Don’t throw away your vote. Coalition a possibility:
    Why would a coalition be a bad outcome as you imply? Regardless of which ‘major’ party wins. I think a coalition would be one of the best outcomes, since it would ensure the main party maintains a moderate stance.

    2 The Non Voters:
    My experience of quite a few 18 – 24 year olds is that, with very few exceptions, they detest Bainimarama. Nevertheless most of them are utterly disinterested in voting so, while I agree that youngsters will probably use the day for a lie in, I think their active disinterest (as opposed to apathy) will actually benefit FijiFirst rather than Sodelpa

    3 Speight and Tikoitoga:
    As you’ve described it, Sodelpa has taken a moral stance on the question of immunity. I’m not sure though why you leave out the non military figures in the 2006 coup. Are you just being deliberately provocative? However if Sodelpa does get in then there are 3 paths open to those who were central to the 2006 coup. a) Get on the next plane out, b) wait to see if immunity is revoked and take their punishment if it is, c) instigate another coup without delay. I’d say each contingency has already been planned for.

    4 Democracy and Economic Wellbeing:
    Good point. Full democracy is inimical to economic well being. Most countries benefit economically from a benevolent dictatorship. However, since absolute power corrupts absolutely there needs to be a rotation in dictatorship. The Chinese do that very well.

    5 Priorities Compared:
    Many times you’ve pointed out the importance of identifying people by their various ethnicities for a variety of reasons. Scholarships (etc) which are similarly identified can help overcome the various unique difficulties that are faced by the different ethnic groups

    6 Epeli Vakalalabure:
    Calls for our vote to be for women. Your comment that Epeli’s ‘hero’ is Mara is without foundation and merely demeans your academic status in a small way.

    7 Ro Teimumu v Voreqe Bainimarama
    You expect Bainimarama to be a clear winner because he has policies and achievements whereas Teimumu has only abstracts. Any party in opposition in any country is faced with the same conundrum – but often wins. She will have been well briefed on the perception (and your claim) that she’s only for iTaukei protection, but if Bainimaram’s team makes the same mistake as you, I’m sure he’ll be blindsided. But since neither of them is particularly articulate I anticipate they’ll both contrive to lose the debate…

    8 Fake ID’s
    Unless I’m mistaken, you’ve identified Raman Velji of Nadi as the owner of the ‘fake’ ID’s. Since you know who he is, the ID’s are aliases, not fakes. In the same way Croz is an alias of Crosbie

    9 The family way:
    Multiple postings in a short time. Tut. A bit like you repeating Epeli Cakau’s insightful tax analysis of Biman Prasad’s claim twice in the same post.

    10 From a SODELPA supporter:
    You know for a hard fact the poster supports Sodelpa? Presumably not, since you’re not even sure of the poster’s name. You’re familiar with the concept of false flags aren’t you? What better way to incite the ire of people than to mouth off or act in an atrocious way and then claim you support an opposition party.

  2. Professor Biman Prasad has always struck me as a rather simplistic academic who has not kept up with his reading. His papers and speeches are the same today as they were 20 years ago. They sound like a broken record.

  3. Fiji is in big trouble economically if FijiFirst doesn't win. The business community is aghast at the prospect of a Bainimarama loss, some are planning to pull out altogether and certainly all new investment will come to a halt. They know that SODELPA has no idea how to run a modern economy and it is only a matter of time before its extremist policies trigger a further national crisis. Another coup also will sink Suva's booming property market and a lot of people are going to get burned. Every Fijian has to think very carefully about the threat to his or her job when making up their mind how to vote.

    1. Exactly, let us be pragmatic here. If we don't vote for Khaiyum's Fiji First, he will stage another coup. With total control over the RFMF, there is only one election outcome: A win for Khaiyum. So better vote for him or face the economic repercussions of another coup. And make also sure that Khaiyum wins by a large margin. A parliament full of opposition politicians who suspect corruption behind every move the government makes is not an environment conducive to economic development. If you can't vote for the one you love, vote for Khaiyum.

    2. Give us some evidence on why you think that khaiyum will stage a stage if he loses? Give us facts on what makes you think he controls the army?


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