The Fiji Sun's Nemani Delaibatiki notes and answers 14 rumours doing the rounds in the social media:
Anti-Government elements, mainly operating from overseas, are now busy spreading lies to try to create fear among the people and destabilise the Government.
They are desperately using social media to try to re-create the events of 1987 and 2000 to cause violence and bring down the Government.
They are an increasingly desperate small minority who will not accept the success of FijiFirst in last year’s truly democratic election. They are realising they have failed and there is no going back to the past unless they can create the trouble of the past.
But their attempts won’t succeed and this is why.
The Government of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is strong and united and has widespread public support in building the new Fiji.
In the September 2014 elections Mr Bainimarama received 202,459 votes out of the 496,364 votes cast.
Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa received a mere 49,485 votes.
Third on the list was Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with 13,753 votes.
Coming in a distance fourth was Biman Prasad, the National Federation Party leader.
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Police are strongly supportive of the democratic process and the elected Government.
They have assured the public there is nothing to worry about and they should go about their work and life normally.They say they have everything under their control.
Minister for Defence Timoci Natuva reinforced their reassurance in Parliament yesterday.
To show the national situation is normal here’s a selection of rumours being spread – and the facts:
Rumour 1: Armed soldiers in Ba and Tavua hunt sedition suspects.
Fact: They stopped to get supplies on their to way to the interior highlands for a normal live firing exercise. It was advertised in a public notice in the Fiji Sun.
Rumour 2: Dynamite has gone missing from the Vatukoula Gold Mine.
Fact: Some dynamite did go missing and has been traced to local fishermen who are well known for using dynamite from the mine to build their catch.
Rumour 3: There’s going to be instability in streets, similar to 1987 and 2000.
Fact: The RFMF, Police and their line minister Timoci Natuva unitedly reassure the nation it won’t happen. The environment in the country now is totally different to that which preceded those events.
Rumour 4: Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was detained in the military camp amidst tension with the RFMF.
Fact: Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was on previously scheduled leave and in Cuvu with his family visiting the in-laws.
Rumour 5: Pio Tikoduadua resigned because of a split in Government and differences with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.
Fact: He resigned because of serious illness.
Rumour 6: Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has no legitimacy.
Fact: The whole country went to the polls last year on the basis of the Constitution. Mr Bainimarama was overwhelmingly elected PM of a democratically-elected Government in a process scrutinised and approved by international observers. It was in this election that the FijiFirst Party received overwhelming votes from youth and women.
Rumour 7: The fight has started to overthrow Government.
Fact: Seventy people in Ra, Nadroga and Navosa have been charged with sedition and incitement. They represent a minority group which has been manipulated and funded by some people who are being traced by Police. Overseas anti-Government elements like Rajendra Chaudhry and Mereoni (Oni) Kirwin are fomenting open rebellion from Australia.
Rumour 8: Joining attempts to form so-called separatist Christian states is part of democratic rights and freedom of expression and association.
Fact: Forming a separate state is unlawful, referred to as an act of sedition. Freedom of expression and association are guaranteed by the Constitution within the bounds of the law.
Rumour 9: There is tension between Police and RFMF over their roles.
Fact: There is no tension, except in the countdown to the Ratu Sukuna Bowl rugby. They complement each other. RFMF stresses it is there to protect the Police and help them in their investigations when the need arises.
Rumour 10: Something is going to happen in September or October. Government’s term will end soon.
Fact: This is nonsense. It will not happen. It’s part of a wish list by those anti-Government forces who still do not accept that FijiFirst overwhelmingly and fairly won last year’s general election and has widespread support. Those who try anything will face the full force of the law as the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has reiterated.
Rumour 11: iTaukei land ownership and rights under threat.
Fact: This is not true but is still promoted by some in the SODELPA opposition. There is no such threat. In fact, as Prime Minister Bainimarama stressed again this week: “Their claim that the iTaukei and their land, religion, culture and identity are under threat is not true. On the contrary, the position of the iTaukei has never been stronger. For anyone to claim otherwise is a lie and the Fijian people should take no notice of liars.”
Rumour 12: Indigenous Fijians feel threatened by insecurity over their land and other resources.
Fact: There are mechanisms in place that strongly safeguard the landowners’ interests in the use of their land and natural resources. Any concerns are dealt with through the same channels.The Fijian Constitution provides unprecedented safety to land. It further recognises the unique position of the indigenous people of Fiji which include the iTaukei and Rotuman.
Rumour 13: Fiji should have been returned to the descendants of the chiefs who ceded Fiji to Great Britain in Levuka on October 10, 1874, instead of to the State.
Fact: If that was true, it would been raised by the descendants of the chiefs in the Constitutional talks in London before Fiji became independent in 1970. iTaukei land (91 per cent of Fiji’s total land mass) and resources are well protected by the iTaukei Land Trust Board.
Rumour 14: Australian agitator Mereoni (Oni) Kirwin, originally from Matuku, has taken this issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.