Regime cheerleaders and recent converts raise their praising voices at the 15th A-G's Conference at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
He carried out the 2006 coup for he feared his contract as army commander would not be renewed by the Qarase government and
People should not consider becoming a member of Parliament just because they cannot get a job elsewhere, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. “We certainly can’t have people joining Parliament because they can’t get a job elsewhere, which has been the case in Fiji in the past,” Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told the Attorney General’s conference in Natadola, Sigatoka at the weekend. - Source: Fijilive.com
Crocodile tears from Bainimarama to grieving South Africans. He praises late Mandela's reconciling role but had termed PM Laisenia Qarase's Reconciliation & Truth Bill as "Reconciliation Bull"
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has sent his condolences to the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa on the passing of former President Nelson Mandela. Relaying his message through Fiji’s Foreign Ministry to the government of the Republic of South Africa, Bainimarama said every Fijian joined him in being deeply saddened by the death of Mandela.
"It is not only a great loss for the South African people. Madiba touched the lives of billions around the world, including every Pacific Islander." "We keenly feel his passing and convey our profound regret and condolences to the Government and people of South Africa." He said while Mandela gained global fame for his struggle against the evil of apartheid, he will be most remembered for the way in which he reconciled former enemies, united all South Africans and set the nation on a different path and this was an example to the whole world and will continue to set a benchmark of exemplary national leadership.
"We were also touched by his personal qualities – his humanity, dignity and bearing. These are qualities that are also deeply valued in Fijian society and which made your former President a revered figure in our small island nation." "The thoughts of every Fijian are with the South African people as you mourn the loss of this great man. He was not only leader of South Africa but a beacon of courage, decency and selflessness for the whole world. He was genuinely loved and we will never forget him." - Fiji Ministry of Information
NELSON MANDELA 1918 - 2013: SODELPA joins billions in mourning the passing of a colossus who ended apartheid and gave his people freedom
NELSON Mandela was the most famous black man in history. He transcended race barriers to become an exemplar of human generosity of spirit. His towering personality made possible the peaceful transfer of power in South Africa from white minority to black majority rule. If he was less effective as president of his country than he had been as the symbol of resistance to apartheid, he demonstrated statesmanship unmatched in Africa. He inspired love as much as respect, and became regarded by hundreds of millions of people as a secular saint.
More was asked of him, and sometimes claimed for him, than any mortal man could deliver. But the world has been a fractionally better place, because Nelson Mandela lived in it. He was born into African aristocracy, a descendant of kings of the Thembu people, in Transkei in 1918. His father had four wives, among whom his mother ranked third. He was the first of his family to attend school, and it was his teacher who gave him the English name Nelson in place of his given name, Rolihlahla. At 19, he attended Fort Hare University, where he soon became involved in student politics - or rather, in organising a boycott of them. Rejecting a marriage arranged for him by his tribal elders, he became briefly a mine guard, then was articled to a Johannesburg law firm. He began living in the Alexandra black township, and started law studies at Witwatersrand University, where he met fellow students and future political activists Ruth First, Joe Slovo and Harry Schwarz.
The Afrikaner-dominated National Party attained power in South Africa's 1948 election.Thereafter, its government set about transforming the country’s longstanding policy of racial segregation into an ironclad, legally-based system of repression. In the early 1950s, Mandela became deeply involved in radical resistance to apartheid, while he and fellow-activist Oliver Tambo ran a law firm, offering cheap advice to township residents. It is hard for a modern generation to conceive what life was like for black South Africans under apartheid.They were denied not merely votes but the most basic human rights. Park benches, buses, beaches - every public facility - were rigidly segregated, marked by signs: 'Whites Only'. Sexual relations between the races were criminalised. Personal residence and movement were permitted only by licence, the hated 'pass laws'.
The police, institutionally brutal, treated blacks - and especially blacks with political aspirations - with contempt and often sadism. Dissent was savagely suppressed. Events came to a head in March 1961, when police opened fire on a peaceful protest in the Johannesburg township of Sharpeville, killing 69 people. A few brave whites sought to tell the world of the crimes being inflicted daily upon an entire society. Alan Paton wrote a hugely influential novel, Cry The Beloved Country, which became a best-seller.
The priest Trevor Huddleston published a moving account of black life, Naught For Your Comfort, which highlighted the conditions the black community were forced to endure. The wonderful Helen Suzman, a Capetown independent MP, held aloft a lone liberal banner in South Africa’s parliament. But such voices seemed mere pebbles amid the unyielding rock of Afrikaner repression. So, too, did Nelson Mandela and his comrades of what became the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela was initially an admirer of India’s Mahatma Gandhi, committed to non-violent resistance. Yet in 1956, he and 150 others were arrested and charged with treason.
The marathon trial which followed continued until 1961, when all the defendants were acquitted.The experience changed Mandela. He became convinced that the whites would never surrender power by peaceful means. He became leader of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe - 'Spear of the Nation'. In August 1962, after 17 months living on the run from the police, he was arrested following a tip-off by the American CIA.
In the dock at his trial, he conducted himself with a dignity and courage which impressed even his enemies. He concluded his defence with a now-famous statement: 'During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.'I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. 'It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.'
On conviction, he and his fellow defendants escaped the gallows, but were sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent the next 27 years behind bars, 18 of them on the notorious Robben Island, near Cape Town. He toiled in a lime quarry, and for years was allowed only one visitor and one letter every six months. Even these small concessions were subjected to malicious delay and censorship by his jailers. Yet, in an extraordinary fashion, in his cell and silenced, Mandela became a global symbol of his people’s plight.
Occasional foreign visitors permitted to visit him emerged to tell of a superbly gracious, humorous, thoughtful figure, who never wavered in his convictions, devoted his life to self-education and planning for a political future. In 1985, apartheid president P.W.Botha offered Mandela freedom, if he would renounce armed struggle. South Africa faced international sanctions and increasing economic difficulties. It was becoming plain that Mandela the captive represented a force in the world as powerful as the whites' edifice of tyranny.
Mandela dismissed Botha’s offer, saying: 'What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.' Four years later, his patient defiance was at last rewarded. President FW de Klerk announced the lifting of the ban on the ANC. On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked free into Cape Town, amid scenes of euphoric rejoicing not only among black South Africans, but across the world. In a superb speech, he declared his hope that a negotiated settlement would soon bring to an end the conditions which made armed struggle against apartheid necessary.
So it proved.
Tension and violence mounted in the months and years that followed, as Mandela negotiated with de Klerk for a new political dispensation. But on 17 April 1994, South Africa’s first election was held under universal suffrage. The prisoner of Robben Island became president with an overwhelming mandate. Apartheid, white minority power, became history. The great revelation in the years of Mandela’s rise to power was of the man himself. He had been invisible for almost 30 years. No one knew what manner of leader would emerge from behind the prison wall. Would he prove a raging revolutionary, an embittered demagogue bent on revenge against his white oppressors? Africa’s freedom from colonial rule has been compromised and often rendered a mockery by many black tyrants, indeed monsters.
He set an example of forgiveness and statesmanship which has been an inspiration to mankind, recognised in a host of global honours and accolades of which the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize was foremost. To the end of his life, he remained one of the planet’s most admired inhabitants, commemorated by statues in a hundred countries, most notably in London’s Parliament Square. He accomplished the transition from reluctant revolutionary to statesman with grace, wit and charm.
He showed the world that Africa can produce greatness. If the continent could breed even a handful of other leaders possessed of a fraction of his nobility of spirit, it might gain remission from the sentence of misery to which it seems condemned. Max Hastings, The Dail Mail, London
SELECTIVE JUSTICE: UFDF wants to know why Pita Driti has been denied immunity under the regime's own 2013 Constitution of Fiji?
The Reject's Revenge: Was Major Manasa Tagicakibau bursting with jealousy for playing second-fiddle to Pita Driti and Ului Mara at RFMF?
Note from Fijileaks Editor:
Pita Driti was unhappy with Aiyaz Khaiyum and Frank Bainimarama and so was Mohammed Aziz but they couldn't talk to each other about it. They always brought this up when Ratu Ului Mara met them separately so he (Ratu Ului) told them individually to go and talk to each other, which they did and the rest is history now.
About the weapons at GPH, there was a Company strength of 120 men at GPH at any one time so they had their personal weapons with them all the time. Unaccounted weapons from where? Only weapons left in Fiji now are at QEB.
So this is the same scenario that Bainimarama was going through in 2004-2006 before he decided to overthrow the legal Qarase government because they were going to charge him for the same charges that Driti faced and has now been convicted and locked away, waiting sentencing on 10 December.
Bainimarama: "Dou cakava vakatotolo na plan de dou qai kidacala au sa liu sobu i ra." ("You people carry out the plan quickly, or I'll surprise you by doing it ahead of you".)
Justice Madigan convicts Pita Driti on sole evidence of Major Manasa Tagicakibau; says Driti was "evasive, divertive, petulant & ungracious"
1. PITA RAGOLEA DRITI, you have been charged with the following offences:
Statement of the Offence
Inciting to Mutiny: Contrary to section 72(1) (a) of the Crimes Decree 44 of 2009.
Particulars of Offence
PITA RAGOLEA DRITI between the 1st day of August 2010 to 31st day of October 2010 at Suva in the Central Division knowing that Manasa Ralawa Tagicakibau is serving in the Republic of Fiji Military forces, attempted to seduce Manasa Ralawa Tagicakibau from his duty and allegiance to Fiji.
Second Count (In the Alternative)
Statement of the Offence
Seditious Offences: Contrary to section 66(1) (i) and section 67(1) (b) of the Crimes Decree No. 44 of 2009.
Particulars of Offence
PITA RAGOLEA DRITI between the 1st day of August 2010 and 31st day of October 2010 at Suva in the Central Division uttered seditious words wherein PITA RAGOLEA DRITI stated words to the effect of “AG should be removed for he is influential in a lot of critical decisions which is deemed to mooring the Government away from its charted course” and/or that “the Commander RFMF no longer have the leadership anointment and he has lost credibility and Commander RFMF needs to be removed from his position” and/or that “if His Excellency the President refused to accept the proposal then there is no other option but to remove His Excellency”, in the presence of Manasa Ralawa Tagicakibau and, thereby intended to bring hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government of Fiji.
2. In the unanimous opinion of three assessors you have been found not guilty of both charges.
3. I have analysed the evidence and directed myself on my own summing up. The strength of the prosecution case is found in Major Tagicakibau’s evidence. I found him to be an honest and convincing witness. He told the Court of meetings with the accused in which he was asked not once but at least twice to use his private intelligence cell, the existence of which was known to the accused, to conduct surveillance on the Attorney General. The rational behind that request was quite clearly to get information to discredit the Attorney and to “bring him down”. That, coupled with the stated perception of the witness (Tagicakibau) that, whatever had been said as to “removal” or “elimination”, he had the impression that the Attorney’s life was to be taken.
4. In contrast to this evidence, I find that I do not believe the evidence of the accused. He was evasive, divertive, petulant and ungracious. That in itself does not make him guilty, nor does he have anything to prove but he contradicted himself and gave evidence that was incapable of belief, thereby in no way detracting from the compelling evidence of Tagicakibau.
5. The evidence of Tagicakibau and the surrounding circumstances establish an overwhelming case against the accused. I cannot believe that he knew nothing of any “plans” until Lt. Colonel Mara visited him in mid September. He was before that time, on his own admission, receiving official and unofficial intelligence reports on at least a weekly basis.
6. In addition to these findings of credibility, circumstances lead me to believe that the accused was taking active steps to impugn the reputation of the Attorney General, to cement disdain for him and to bring about the downfall of the Commander’s administration. He was having the Attorney General tailed, making enquiries about his social connections and his income. He was calling into aid the head of a crack platoon of unarmed combat specialists. That head, Warrant Officer Korovou was most reluctant to give evidence of his meeting with the accused. Whatever may have been said at that meeting, he told the Court that he came away from it with the distinct impression that there was going to be another coup.
7. The fact given in evidence by the accused, that on hearing of the plan he did nothing but stand back and consider it without reporting it to the Commander, does not serve him well. The irresistible inference is that he supported it and was doing whatever he could to justify it and further it.
8. Thinking that the plan may have been a “set-up” did not lead to the accused to take appropriate steps to deal with a possible “set-up”. Asking the purported architect of the plan : “is this a set-up?” does nothing to create confidence in his evidence.
9. In believing the evidence of Tagicakibau and finding nothing in the evidence of the accused to counter it, the case against him is overwhelming and I find beyond reasonable doubt that at the relevant times he was making an attempt to persuade the major from his loyalties to both Service and State.
10. For the above reasons I reject the opinions of the assessors and find the accused guilty of the first count. He is convicted accordingly. The second count charged in the alternative falls away.
Fijileaks Editor: See also below the Summing Up:
Aiyaz Khaiyum's Hong Kong buddy judge Madigan overrules three Assessors return verdict of NOT GUILTY; says Driti GUILTY and remands him in custody until December 10 for sentencing
The Social Democratic Liberal Party ( SODELPA) advises the public to be fully aware of the implications of a free education for all children in primary and secondary schools in 2014 as trumpeted by the Bainimarama government.
The promise is misleading the people and is already causing a lot of problems with school committees and management. Some are worried about the timely disbursements of funds. The other irony is that Government has requested that funds will only be given to those schools that have fully audited their books. And what of schools that fail to audit their accounts what is the policy on this. Perhaps these schools should ask about the Government’s own audited accounts through the Auditor General’s report which has been absent since 2006.
SODELPA urges Government to fully disclose, the details of all fees/costs to be paid by parents so that they can budget for this well before the first school term begins in 2014. The release of this information in “bits and pieces” by the Government is unsatisfactory and is quite frustrating and unsettling to parents.
In the Fiji Times of 25.11.13 the Ministry of Information confirmed that school boarding fees will be paid by parents. In the same paper the Ministry is quoted as saying: “Students will have to share the textbooks in schools and those parents who can afford to buy their children textbooks may continue to do so.”
The Ministry also says that: “And while education has been made free, the government has called on all parents to bear the full costs of uniforms, lunch and school materials such as exercise books, stationery and bags for their children.” “Also extracurricular expenses such as Scouts, Girl Guides, cadets, excursions and swimming classes must be paid for by parents.” A boarding school in Suva stated that they will still levy funds for students as boarding facilities were separate from the school.
After the disclosures from the Ministry of Information, SODELPA asks the question: “What is free in Education? It seems that the correct answer is: there will be fee-free tuition in primary and secondary education in 2014, all other or most other education costs will continue to be paid by parents.
Furthermore, SODELPA also states that the Government has failed to effectively and efficiently manage the issue of free bus fares. Some parents are well- off and can afford to pay for their children’s bus fares are given bus fare vouches yet thousands of school children who qualify for the bus fare subsidy do not benefit from this scheme. This has been due to the discriminatory administration of the scheme, absolute mismanagement and outright thefts.
SODELPA calls on the Government to initiate immediately a thorough independent audit of the scheme and publish the report for public information. Mismanagement of the scheme in several schools was highlighted recently in the media and many more are unreported. SODELPA believes that this case is only the “tip of the iceberg” and the scam is both widespread and deeply embedded in the administration of the scheme.
Given the cumulative inflation approaching 50% since 2007, the extraordinary increases in prices during the last 7 years and the static wages during the same period, the parents of school children in 2014 will still be worse off financially compared to their position in 2006, even, with the promised tuition-fee-free education in 2014. Coupled with Value Added Tax and Excise Duty on imported goods the Government is actually giving in one hand and taking it with the other, it is a deceptive policy.
At the end nothing is free in life someone has to pay; with a declining economy, the Government is doing it through increased taxes, selling government assets and more borrowing. It’s the school children with a so called “free education” now and their parents who will pay for all these later.
General Secretary- Pio Tabaiwalu