THE VICE FIST rained on peaceful protestors by Rabuka and his coupists is still alive and kicking thirty years on - with the arrest and questioning of SODELPA Youth leader JOPE KOROISAVU - KICK RABUKA OUT!!!!!
HIDING IN THE BUSH? As BUSHMASTERS are taken out for a 'spin' on the streets of Suva and Rabuka is increasingly becoming a person of interest to be monitored by military, where is army chief NAUPOTO?
Why is Kalouniwai speaking out and not Naupoto? Has he been dumped? Or is RFMF's Chief of Staff vying for the Commander's post?
From Fijivillage News, 27 June 2017:
RFMF concerned with Rabuka’s close involvement with Fiji ex‑Peacekeepers And Action Trustee Association
The RFMF is concerned with SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s close involvement with the Fiji ex‑Peacekeepers And Action Trustee Association and the military will also closely monitor the Association’s call for ex-peacekeepers to gather at the Suva court house this Thursday.
RFMF’s Chief of Staff Colonel Jone Kalouniwai says they are aware of a meeting held between Rabuka and the Association’s seven Executive members at Hotel 2000 in Lautoka yesterday.
Colonel Kalouniwai says the RFMF is aware of the fresh application of grievances the Association will be lodging this Thursday for mention in the Suva High Court in anticipation of the strike‑out application filed by the defendants, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance and the Attorney General against the Association.
Colonel Kalouniwai says these grievances which include a $250 million compensation for participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions from 1978 to 2002 with an upfront installment of $150 million is the perfect opportunity for Rabuka to piggyback on and use as a bandwagon of grievances to sway and manipulate the former Peacekeepers Association for his political gains.
The RFMF Chief of Staff says the involvement of the SODELPA Leader now is a mockery for all RFMF peacekeepers because of his non‑action to increase the RFMF Peacekeepers Middle East location allowances during his capacity as Commander RFMF and Prime Minister of the country from 1987 to 1999.
Colonel Kalouniwai says during those periods, all peacekeepers were receiving a meager $15 a day as location allowances for a whole year in Lebanon.
The current location allowances have gradually increased over the years since then to $130 a day for all RFMF Peacekeepers.
The RFMF is warning the Association to be very cautious and must attempt to fully comprehend the real intentions and ulterior motives of Rabuka’s involvement and his genuine assurances within their Association.
Colonel Kalouniwai says there should be no encouraging of ex-peacekeepers to go in numbers to the courthouse on Thursday.
When questioned by Fijivillage on whether he supports the Association calling ex-peacekeepers to go in numbers to the courthouse, Sitiveni Rabuka said that it would be a waste of money if they do that.
Rabuka also confirms that he is not supporting the compensation payment case as the peacekeepers were paid by the Fijian government, and the peacekeeping deal was between the Fijian government and the United Nations, not between individual soldiers and the UN.
The RFMF will be closely monitoring the situation and strongly urges the Association to reconsider their intentions in encouraging all its members around Viti Levu to attend the mentioning of the Association’s fresh application of grievances lodged against the defendants before the Suva High Court this Thursday.
Meanwhile, the boot boys are taken care off, in case needed for COUP!
INTERNATIONAL TORTURE DAY should be a reminder to SODELPA that their BIBLE bashing torturer and political leader SITIVENI RABUKA is hiding behind IMMUNITY - immunity has denied justice to his VICTIMS
AND the IMMUNITY he granted himself in the 1990 Constitution, carried forward in 1997 and 2013 Constitutions, is shielding him from charges of TREASON
He is not alone on that list. We have Apisai Tora, Taniela Veitata, Ratu Meli Vesikula, Savenaca Dranidalo, to name but just a few. We may recall that I had stated earlier in a separate instalment that it was at Reverend Tomasi Raikivi’s place that Rabuka had met his other coup co-conspirators.
In his book, Rabuka: No Other Way, by two journalists, Stan Ritova and Eddie Dean, Rabuka claims that it was at Rakivi’s home that he first learnt of the Taueki group’s plan for massive ‘demonstrations and the possibility of widespread arson and possibly murder’.
According to Ritova and Dean Rabuka (his words in italics) went to, ‘…what he understood was an ordinary ‘grog’ party at the Rev. Rakivi’s home, in suburban Suva. It was early evening, and he just walked in, as he normally would, throwing his ‘sevusevu’ [gift] of yagona towards the bowl where the ‘grog’ was being mixed. ‘I saw all these people sitting down, and realised it was some kind of a meeting. Some of the people greeted me, although I could not see everyone clearly, because it was fairly dark in the lounge room. Nobody asked me to leave.’
When his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he discovered the gathering was ‘quite a formidable group’. He says it included Ratu Finau Mara, the son of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara; Ratu George Kadavulevu, son of the Paramount of Chief of Fiji, Ratu George Cakobau; Ratu Inoke Kubuabola; Ratu Keni Viuyasawa, the brother of Brigadier Nailatikau; Mr Filipe Bole, formerly a Minister in the Mara government; Ratu Jo Ritova, of Labasa; Ratu Jale Ratu; ‘Big Dan’ Veitata and the host Tomasi Rakivi…Another leading light at this meeting was Apisai Tora.’
We may recall that when Sitiveni Rabuka and a group of 10 masked soldiers, cowardly hiding behind balaclavas and gas masks, took over Parliament and captured Dr Timoci Bavadra and his Government team on the morning of 14 May 1987, it was Veitata who was making his maiden speech as Opposition MP: ‘Peace is quite distinct, Mr Speaker, from the political philosophy of Mao Zedong where he said that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. In Fiji, there is no gun…’
What he did not inform the House, the country, and the world was that he, Kubuabola, Bole and others had been plotting that coup moment in secrecy, waiting for Rabuka and his team to finish the job.
During that secret meeting at Raikivi’s house in Suva, according to Ritova and Dean, those allegedly God-fearing men, some of chiefly rank, exchanged opinions, and turned to God for help: ‘The link with God and Christianity surfaced here, too. At the end of the meeting, which was full of fire and brimstone talk about what to do with the Coalition and the ‘flawed’  Constitution, which had allowed the election of an Indian-dominated Government, they joined hands and prayed to God. Their prayer, in summary, was simple: ‘Save us, and save our land. You saved the Israelites when their land was taken away from them by foreigners. Dear God, please answer our prayer and do the same for us.’
There is no evidence that they also prayed to God to open up the National Bank of Fiji to them but it was not long afterwards that their ‘God’s Messenger on Earth’, in the form of Sitiveni Rabuka, decreed that the NBF grant “soft loans” to the “downtrodden” taukei population.
Among them who made a run to the NBF was none other than Taniela Veitata, for he is listed among the doubtful debtors, to the tune of $25,323.
It seems Reverend Raikivi had forgotten, or chose not to read out to him Psalms 37: 21:
‘The wicked borroweth and payeth not’.
As soon as Bavadra and his government were sworn in, the Taukei Movement, led by Tora and prominent Alliance personalities sprang up. Tora said the group had been formed to mobilize the Fijian people and give them a more unified voice on national affairs in their own country. He then announced a campaign of civil disobedience, and called for the 1970 Constitution to be changed so far to guarantee Fijian chiefly leadership in government permanently.
At meetings and demonstrations he charged that the Bavadra government was a front for Indo-Fijian interests and that their immediate objective was to rob Fijians of ownership and control of their land. Such words suggest that he was a revolutionary Fijian hero, but Tora was simply a turncoat. Since he crossed to Ratu Mara’s Alliance Party before the 1982 general election, he had acquired Ratu Mara’s respect and confidence and had finally become a Cabinet Minister. Previously, however, he was with the National Federation Party; in 1968 he had provided the prefix ‘National; to the Federation Party to form the NFP.
As we know, Tora went on to play a major role in the downfall of the Bavadra government. Equally, when the NBF fell into the deep financial hole, Tora was listed, along with Veitata and others, to have defaulted his loan to the tune of $194,393.
Ratu Meli Vesikula
He was one of the foremost Taukei leaders. Vesikula who, as a former NCO in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in the British Army, had seen action in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Malaysia, said that in the light of his experience Rabuka’s military solution was the only option in then ethnic crisis.
But when Rabuka appointed Ratu Penaia Ganilau as President and Ratu Mara as Prime Minister after the second coup in September 1987, Vesikula led a breakaway Taukei faction, saying: ‘It’s more and more the Alliance team back in place. This is the old system being rammed down our throats again in a roundabout way – the backdoor. I would like the indigenous Fijian people to stand united and say, No, enough is enough’.
He went on to claim: ‘I see no chance at all of my two ratus here changing their outlook and their life and the running of the country in general…The Great Council of Chiefs had clearly stated that it will nominate the President, and the Prime Minister would be elected by secret ballot after the general elections. I’m sorry to say this but I feel Rabuka handed power back to a dictator on five December.’
In 1988, a group of army officers, in collusion with the splinter Taukei Movement entertained the possibility of seizing power from Mara and Ganilau, with Vesikula remarking: ‘Now that power has been given to the Tovata group, what is there to stop chiefs from other areas to go to the military camp and order their people to lay down their arms and join them.’
To Vesikula’s credit, he publicly admitted his mistakes when he came into spiritual contact with the international Moral Re-Armament Group (Initiative for Change). He confessed he was responsible for many acts of violence perpetrated against the Indo-Fijians after the 1987 coups: ‘But in 1988, the truth began to dawn on me that the coups were just part of a political power play by people who had lost their power at the ballot box in 1987.
In 1990 he publicly apologised to the Indo-Fijians at an MRA conference in Suva.
However, in 1996, he was revealed, along with other 1987 coupists of owing to the NBF $8,000 loans that had been set aside to help ‘poor Fijians’.
He was Rabuka’s second-in-command on that fateful day on 14 May 1987 when Dr Timoci Bavadra was overthrown as Prime Minister of the FLP-NFP coalition government. Worse, he was the ex-husband of Adi Kuini Teimumu Vuikaba Bavadra, who herself had fought for reform of the chiefly system by insisting on standards of accountability for all chiefs.
Like others in the Rabuka camp, Draunidalo was also listed on the NBF’s Debtors List in 1996; he was shown as owing to the bank $156,605.
He was the army captain who, along with five members of the RFMF, had abducted and tortured Dr Anirudh Singh, a lecturer in physics at the University of South Pacific in Fiji. Singh was abducted from his home on 24 October 1990, bundled into a car and driven off to secluded woodland outside Suva. He had bandages taped over his eyes and a hood tied down tight over his head. He was repeatedly beaten and interrogated about his fellow protestors, and about his contacts in Australia and London.
They also retrieved a list of names and phone numbers that he always kept with him for ready reference (incidentally on that list of contacts was my own name, and soon afterwards I myself began to receive credible death threats for my opposition to the Rabuka coups).
At one point Singh’s hands were smashed against a root with a metal pipe and they also forcibly cut his hair and burnt him with cigarettes. But before they left him for dead, one of his captors lit a match and began burning the already-cut hair at the tips, some kind of pagan ceremony of humiliation. The whole ordeal lasted for eleven hours. Singh was finally set free, and had lived to tell his tale in his book Silent Warriors.
Singh’s crime was that he had led a group of demonstrators who publicly burned the overtly racist 1990 Constitution, which Ganilau and Mara said was needed ‘for the protection and enhancement of Fijian and Rotuman interests’. In reality, as I will be revealing one of these days, it was to enhance the Mara/Ganilau clan’s business interests with the likes of Ponijiasi following in their footsteps.
In the NBF’s Debtors List of 1996, Ponijiasi is listed as owning to the bank $29,763.01.
So much for Rabuka’s much vaunted Holy Grail of affirmative action – to help the poor and economically disadvantaged taukei in Fiji.
Another Ponijiasi – Mere - owed $26,354.36.
In all, Rabuka’s 1987 above coupists owed a combined total of $415,000 to the collapsed National Bank of Fiji, reward for supporting the 1987 Rabuka coups.
C4/5 Editor’s Note: We will continue to reveal debtors names, which includes those of high chiefs, politicians, Indo-Fijians, business houses, including individual supporters of the present illegal junta in Fiji.
Picture: Dr Anirudh Singh, who was tortured by Sotia Ponijiasi and five members of the RFMF.
CALM DOWN! RFMF on BUSHMASTER in Suva: "We all know the political hype they (NFP) have and they're just trying to make an issue out of this. We were just celebrating Infantry Day with [Bushmaster]"
"This was during a time when there was a blackout enforced on political parties from making statements or campaigning before the day of the polls.
"We raised our concern with the Electoral Commission but our concerns were not addressed.
"Now the military is indulging in the same tactics at least a year away from the election. This must be condemned in the strongest manner."
He said the military should not overstep its role despite its constitutional responsibility.
"Operating an Armoured Personnel Carrier in civilian areas when there is absolute peace and stability and no emergency is not guaranteeing peace and security but instilling fear and uncertainty in our people.
"It is sending a wrong signal. The military must understand that it is subservient to civilian rule.
"We ask, are the three Bushmasters for training or going to be operated in our towns, cities and densely populated areas to show force and intimidate our people?"
He said Fiji was not a war zone and peacekeeping training does not involve using Bushmasters in the full view of civilians and visitors to our country.
Col Kalouniwai said the soldiers were using the Bushmasters on the streets last Friday as it was Infantry Day.
"There is no law that prohibits Bushmasters using the roads in Fiji. There is nothing wrong with that," he said.
Colonel Kalouniwai said the Bushmaster was a protected mobility vehicle used to carry troops - that's all.
"They're not an offensive weapon. There is nothing for them (public) to fear.
"We all know the political hype they (NFP) have and they're just trying to make an issue out of this.
"We were just celebrating Infantry Day and the guys (soldiers) thought it would be a good thing for them to take it out, that's all."
He said the fact remained that the vehicles were bought to be used for peacekeeping and pivotal training and there are only three of them used for training purposes.
"There is no harm in us putting it out on the streets and just driving it around."
Col Kalouniwai said Prof Prasad had wrong idea and wrong perception and should try and get more facts from his party's president, Pio Tikoduadua, on what the Bushmaster really is.
Indian drivers caught in the riot tried to race through the mob, but some were stopped by bricks flying through their windshields. They were pulled out and punched and kicked. One Indian taxi driver tried too late to pull out of his parking space. Several Fijians yanked him from the car, punched and kicked him and emptied his pockets.
An older Indian man was knocked to the ground, and he curled up in a ball as a succession of Fijians kicked him as they ran past. A boy was hurled to the street and kicked in the head several times until blood ran down his face.
No one was reported critically injured, and it often seemed that the attacks, although brutal, were short of murderous. The mobs usually let their bloodied victims run off, or the attackers themselves ran on after landing a few blows.
A few shops were looted, but most stores were already boarded up because of a general strike to protest the coup. Late tonight, downtown Suva was eerie and deserted.
With three rival claims to executive authority in Fiji, it remained unclear who was in command. Lieut. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka, who led the coup, appears to have received backing from the Great Council of Chiefs, and his soldiers remain on the streets.
He has, however, indicated that he recognizes the executive authority of the Governor General, who says he is in charge. And the elected Government of Prime Minister Bavadra said it should be in power, although Dr. Bavadra acceded today to the Governor General's call for new elections to resolve the crisis.
''We really don't know what direction we're moving in,'' Mr. Nacola, the Agriculture Minister, said in an interview on the first day of his release.
''We're still living at the barrel of a gun.''
30 YEARS AGO, Sitiveni Rabuka unleashed his soldiers on Indo-Fijians; Now SODELPA have deliberately chosen him to resuscitate old RACISM
SPEAK OUT: Ro Teimumu Kepa urges civil servants who RESIGNED to come out public and make their reasons known for their resignations
Fijileaks: Our sources claim Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Robin Nair was given the option to shape up or ship out after he was heard foul-mouthing Bainimarama to diplomats and refusing to work within his remit as permanent secretary; he opted to RESIGN
CIVIL servants who have resigned over the past few months have been urged to come out public and make their reasons known.
The call was made by Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa in a statement issued by her office on Friday.
Ro Teimumu said the recent string of resignations by high profile employees from the Government and its agencies was of concern.
"We have had competent locals resign and fade into the background and we have had expatriates resign, fleeing the country," Ro Teimumu said.
She claimed several high ranking government officials had been transferred without any justification.
"Those who have resigned should not fear and come out clean to inform the public what made them resign. It is your moral obligation to do that," she said.
"The Government and its agencies are public institutions funded by taxpayers of this country. They deserve to know the full truth and not half baked truth and fairytales to print an otherwise glossy picture in the name and game of reforms."
Ro Teimumu made the comments following the recent resignations of Fiji Roads Authority CEO John Hutchinson, former Fijian diplomat Robin Nair and Merchant Finance CEO Napolioni Batimala. Source: Fiji Times
Fijileaks: This is not the first time Robin Nair has fallen foul with the Bainimarama regime; in 2009 he had left in acrimony, prompting VICTOR LAL to pen the following unflattering opinion piece in Fiji Sun, 30/1/2009:
BY VICTOR LAL
30 January 2009
BIBLE SOCIETY SOUTH PACIFIC WEEK: Thirty years ago, in 1987, the Society's executive secretary Kubuabola teamed up with Methodist lay preacher Rabuka to carry out racist and religious COUP using the Bible
WOLVES IN SHEEP'S Sulus: Rabuka claimed that he was a lone wolf who carried out the coup but his co-conspirator Inoke Kubuabola contradicted him saying the final decision to mount the coup was "taken in my office at the Bible Society with Rabuka"; we must monitor the Society's activities, now that Rabuka is SODELPA leader, and there are talks that Kubuabola could be offered a SODELPA poll ticket.
IRONICALLY, Rabuka exploited the political HINDU MOB - the NFP leader Jai Ram Reddy and FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry - to keep himself relevant on the political scene until his election defeat in 1999; they had refused to take heed of Dr Tupeni Baba's warning that "Rabuka's approach at the expense of others will bring instability to Fiji with his unpredictable utterances and demands"; in 1992 Rabuka was desperately seeking NFP and FLP support, to become Prime Minister. In the end it was Chaudhry and his FLP MPs votes that elevated Rabuka to the Prime Ministership in 1992. The HINDU MOB changed sides (for and against) Rabuka in the 1999 election, and in 2017 Chaudhry has changed sides, again, this time siding with SODELPA leader and coupist Rabuka
And another former staunch FLP supporter and businessman, Satish Kumar, crosses over to a NEW party calling itself UNITY. Adi Sivia Qoro, another former FLP Cabinet Minister before the 2006 coup, is now one of the founding members of Unity Fiji party, with Savenaca Narube, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji
NEW ZEALAND dismisses Voting Rigging fear from NADRA, saying Fiji Election Office followed due process; NZ is paying for NADRA contract
NZ backs process
THE New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has expressed confidence that necessary processes were followed when the tender for the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) Election Management System (EMS) was awarded.
The New Zealand Government provided the funding grant to the FEO to procure the system, that was delivered by Pakistan's National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).
But NADRA had come under fire from political parties because of reports their officials allegedly accepted bribes in return for producing fake IDs, some of which were made for suspected terrorists.
"The ministry is aware of the claims relating to the company selected by Fijian Elections Office to supply the system," a spokesperson for the New Zealand High Commission said yesterday
"However, we are confident that the EMS has been delivered in line with the contract process and that New Zealand funding has been used appropriately and for the intended purpose."
Since 2013, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has partnered with the New Zealand Electoral Commission to provide support and capacity development to the Fiji Electoral Commission and Fijian Elections Office. And New Zealand said yesterday this support included provision of $NZ950,000 ($F1.4 million) to design and implement the (EMS), including the purchase of associated hardware and other services.
"Under the contract between MFAT and the Fiji Elections Office, the procurement of the system was undertaken by the Fiji Elections Office under Fiji Government procurement rules," the spokesperson said.
"This included a requirement that the Fijian Elections Office undertake appropriate due diligence of the supplier and the system as part of its procurement process. "
NADRA beat five other companies for the tender and Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the tender was awarded based on the assessment by the tender board and an evaluation committee.
"A terrorism financing search was also carried out and it was all clear," he said.
Auditor-General Ajay Nand said all concerns raised regarding procurement of the EMS would be considered for the 2017 audit of the Fijian Elections Office.
Yesterday, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said an audit would not address the issue and the NADRA contract should be terminated.
He said the FLP was worried about fake IDs being used to vote in Fijian elections and of the possible manipulation of the system to rig the election.
Fijileaks: We should be worried about the racist and religious BIGOT Sitiveni Rabuka who might try, AGAIN, to disenfranchise INDO-FIJIANS!
BROKEN BALMINDAR: When Fiji Sun begins to hound a FFP MP one can be sure Khaiyum wants that MP OUT; the pursuit of FFP MP Balmindar Singh is case in point but FAMILY tell us the troubled MP needs HELP!
Fijileaks: Our Founding Editor-in-Chief VICTOR LAL who has known the Singh family for over four decades urges the FFP MP to seek professional mental help, as requested by his family; Khaiyum will pump up and dump his MPs to advance his own political career.
Fijileaks to Balmindar Singh: "Things Do Fall Apart, so get HELP"
Fijileaks to Singh: TAKE a break like your PM but not on taxpayers cost
Fijileaks to troubled Balmindar Singh: We don't have that EVIL STREAK like SODELPA leader and Father of Coup Culture SITIVENI RABUKA, who had this to say on the former Prime Minister and FLP leader
Dr Timoci Bavadra's death
MILITARY intervenes to WARN political parties and their supporters to stop using RACE and RELIGION for political gains. Fijileaks: If not, what will happen RFMF’s Chief of Staff Lt Colonel Jone Kalouniwai - COUP?
Fijileaks: Our highly reliable sources at the barracks claim the scheduled 2018 election could be postponed under pretext of national security; Kalouniwai was directing his warning at NFP president Pio Tikoduadua but it were these two who liu muried Pita Driti, sending him to prison. What is really despicable is Sitiveni Rabuka's sycophants exhorting all and sundry, especially native Fijians, to make this coupist next PM. They refuse to see RABUKA'S EVIL PAST and him as Father of Coup Culture.
A Coup is a Coup!
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces says once again, we are hearing the usual rhetoric coming in different shapes and forms using communal divisions through ethnicity, race and religion to push a specific agenda for political gains.
The RFMF says the National Federation Party President Pio Tikoduadua’s statement that the people’s security lies with the goodwill of all communities particularly the iTaukei cannot go unchallenged, given what the constitution mandates the RFMF which is the overall responsibility to ensure at all times the security, defense and well‑being of Fiji and all Fijians.
RFMF’s Chief of Staff Lt Colonel Jone Kalouniwai says this effort to rebut intends to re‑emphasize the same confidence and trust in the RFMF’s continued relevance as an institution ensuring security in the shaping of our nation’s destiny as it increasingly gains greater stature in the comity of nations.
The RFMF says whilst it continues in its efforts in being apolitical, it will continue to play a pivotal role towards nation building.
It says unfortunately, statements like Pio Tikoduadua’s certainly have the potential of becoming an engine for ethno‑nationalism.
The military says statements as such have the potential of only influencing and breeding suspicion, distrust, ethnic tensions and potentially lead to conflict.
Lt Colonel Kalouniwai says the RFMF today with a renewed spirit of nationhood will continue to play a significant role in fostering the spirit of inclusive growth as enunciated by Government, and always guarantee and ensure that our rights, identity, culture, religion and land are protected, enshrined and safeguarded in our constitution for all times.
Lt Colonel Kalouniwai says this has become even more relevant today in a globalized and interdependent world where nation states are political units in an international system, representing the citizens’ aspirations.
He says the current government’s National Security Strategy a first ever of its kind by any Fijian government, reinforces this responsibility of the People’s Security in a framework that looks at Comprehensive Security.
The RFMF says this framework capitalizes on a whole government approach that would in turn act as an instrument to achieve life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
It says the process of nation building by the current government aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run.
The RFMF says the pillars of nation building in this 21st century look towards Security, Justice, Economic Development and a form or process of civil government or constitution.
It says security comes first in the packing order because the other three pillars function effectively only if the security threshold on the nation, both internal and external, remains intact.
The RFMF says their very own National Security Strategy has identified the sustainable well‑being of Fiji and all Fijians at the top of its list of its five identified security priorities for Fiji. In this context, the smooth functioning of democracy brings in its wake social justice and economic development.
Tikoduadua had said at the NFP Convention earlier this month that everyone’s rights is guaranteed in the 2013 constitution and he believes that people’s security lies with the goodwill of all communities particularly the Itaukei.
Tikoduadua said fear and the race card should never be used going into the 2018 general elections.
He said the RFMF should never take any side and should only ensure that everyone is protected.
When contacted today, Tikoduadua said that he has received the RFMF statement and he will reply in due course.
"The elevation of two former senior military officials [Rabuka and Tikoduadua] to leadership positions in the opposition parties raises pertinent questions relating to further militarization of Fiji’s politics as it heads to elections: Do the major political parties now believe the only way to challenge or usurp a coup leader is with another coup leader/ military man? For the voters, do they really think a vote for a military man is a vote for stability -a guarantee to avoid future coups? In the lead up to the 2018 elections, the chances of having any untainted leadership in Fiji’s major political parties have gone slimmer. As a nation, we must ask ourselves as to what leadership we truly desire. For all the rhetoric by the major parties as to the importance of democracy and rule of law, we as critical thinking voters must make a genuine attempt to look beyond mere rhetoric as we strive to work towards a true democracy that is firmly against coup culture."
The recent announcement of Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Pio Tikoduadua as the President of the National Federation Party (NFP), an opposition party, is an indication of how deeply ingrained the coup culture has become in Fiji.
This followed the election of Major General (Retired) Sitiveni Rabuka, the instigator of Fiji’s coup culture, as the leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) – the leading Opposition party – in June 2016. With FijiFirst, the party in power headed by Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama, all three political parties currently represented in Fiji’s parliament now have in leadership positions people with questionable democratic credentials and adherence to the rule of law.
The major choices for the 2018 Elections
This year marks 30 years since Fiji’s first coup and in that period there has only been a total of 6 years and 4 months of civilian-led governments that have won their mandate at the general elections without being led by a former or current coup leader.[i]
Fiji’s coup culture goes beyond its susceptibility to periodic military coups and upheavals. Since the first coup in 1987, people of Fiji from all communities have been affected by coups, however the deeply ingrained coup culture also makes the people suffer to their own detriment.
The coup culture is reflected by how after every coup, their leaders and accomplices evade accountability for their crimes and human rights abuses through immunity clauses (as is the case with Rabuka and Bainimarama) or apologies using traditional practices.
Depending on which community are the supposed beneficiaries of each coup, there is either active participation or deafening silence from influential members of Fiji’s various communities. At the various post-coup polls, coup leaders and their accomplices have been elected to parliament time and time again – symptomatic of how the democratic culture is still not ingrained in Fiji’s populace.
The NFP is Fiji’s oldest surviving political party and in the complex mess that is #Fijipol, it has proudly claimed to have never supported a coup. While in the past they have engaged with ‘reformed coup leaders’ in the interests of democratization, they have never propped up coup leaders or supporters as candidates or executive members of their own party.
Earlier this month, the NFP announced Pio Tikoduadua as its new party president at their annual convention in Lautoka.
Tikoduadua’s rapid rise to the position of party president came within two months of his announcement to join NFP as a party member.
As Tikoduadua came out of retirement during the Easter weekend and declared his new allegiance to NFP, the party leader Professor Biman Prasad attempted to whitewash Tikoduadua’s past and present him as a humble civil servant who was not in Fiji during the December 2006 coup.
This by no means gets Tikoduadua off the hook. There were many civil servants including senior Republic of Fiji Military Force officials who took a principled stance and either resigned prior to, and following the 2006 coup, or were terminated for refusing to follow orders during Bainimarama’s violent crackdown and clean-up campaign.
In 2007, Tikoduadua returned from defense studies in Canberra and was soon appointed Acting Permanent Secretary for Justice. According to leaked diplomatic cables on Wikileaks, Larry Dinger, the US Ambassador to Fiji at the time noted the militarization of the public service with Tikoduadua appointed to the role without having any prior legal training.
Tikoduadua later served as Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister from 2008 to 2014 before successfully winning a seat as a FijiFirst candidate and serving as Leader of Government in Parliament and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. In May 2015, he resigned from Parliament due to ill health.
However two years later, during his Easter resurrection message, Tikoduadua spoke of other reasons for his resignation. He claimed that “nobody’s opinion matters in Fiji, except those of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General”, a fact many of us have known for over 10 years.
While a person’s right to political participation including their right to change political opinion must be fully supported, we must refrain from elevating coup leaders and their accomplices to party leadership without holding them to account for their coup crimes.
Over in SODELPA, Rabuka has been party leader for 12 months now after ousting Ro Teimumu Kepa and during that period he has been able to slowly build support under his leadership. The latest Tebutt poll show Rabuka and Bainimarama enjoying steady support as the top two preferred choices for Prime Minister in the lead up to 2018 elections.
It remains to be seen how much support Tikoduadua will garner for NFP with his recent appointment as President. If history is any indication, NFP also looks set to see a surge in support now that is also has a former military strongman in leadership.
The promotion of both Rabuka and Tikoduadua also casts doubt on these opposition parties’ commitment to women in political leadership, as both of them now occupy positions previously held by women.[i]
The elevation of two former senior military officials to leadership positions in the opposition parties raises pertinent questions relating to further militarization of Fiji’s politics as it heads to elections:
- Do the major political parties now believe the only way to challenge or usurp a coup leader is with another coup leader/ military man?
- For the voters, do they really think a vote for a military man is a vote for stability -a guarantee to avoid future coups?
For all the rhetoric by the major parties as to the importance of democracy and rule of law, we as critical thinking voters must make a genuine attempt to look beyond mere rhetoric as we strive to work towards a true democracy that is firmly against coup culture.
[i] The Fiji Labour Party (FLP) –was in power for 1 month in 1987 and 1 year from 1999-2000. The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party was in power for 5 years 3 months from 2001-2006.
[ii] The Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa has indicated that she does not intend to contest the 2018 elections while the former President of the NFP, Tupou Draunidalo, resigned her post in January 2017. Rabuka’s election to lead SODEPLA had created a rift within SODELPA and did not have the support of Ro Teimumu. Tupou Draunidalo in March 2017 announced her decision to join the proposed H.O.P.E Party
*Kris Prasad is a queer activist and a founding member of Fiji Youth for Democracy. You can follow him on Twitter @Angry_Kpra.
** Romitesh Kant is a democracy and human rights activist and is also one of the founding members of Fiji Youth for Democracy. You can follow him on Twitter @Idealist_Cynic.
The views expressed on this guest blog post are of the authors in their personal capacities and do not represent the views of Fiji Youth for Democracy and any other affiliated organisations or networks.
IS IT REALLY HIM?
ALCATRAZ is where criminals used to be LOCKED UP
PAKISTAN BASHING REACHES FEVER PITCH but after every election claims have been made that the preceding election had been RIGGED!
The Fiji Labour Party is extremely concerned that the Fiji Elections Office has procured the services of Pakistan’s NADRA to develop its Election Management System.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says that NADRA beat five other companies that had applied for the tender because “NADRA Technologies Limited offered the most competitive pricing." (FT 20/6)
“Surely the most important criteria here should be the security of our data and not necessarily the most competitive offer,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
“We are definitely disturbed that a company with a serious question mark over its credibility has been contracted by the Elections Office to handle sensitive electoral data,” he said.
There are reports of NADRA officials being arrested and charged by Pakistani authorities for accepting bribes to issue fake IDs and passports. A report by Pakistan’s ISI in 2015 found NADRA officials including some of its top brass involved in helping terrorists get Pakistani IDs.
Mr Saneem brushed aside this critical disclosure by Pakistan’s top intel authority ISI as a “matter that had been poorly researched and blown out of proportion by some”.
FLP is extremely worried that our secured data would be in the hands of such a company.
How can Fiji entrust its election management system to a company with this kind of dubious reputation? The credibility of our election is at stake here.
Secondly our concern should also be the privacy of secured personal information in the hands of a company with such a questionable reputation.”
• NADRA #didnotmeet all the #requirements for the tender as advertised by the Elections Office. The advertisement had required overseas companies to have a local partner at the time of bidding for the tender. NADRA did not have a local partner at the time of bidding. Its tender should have been rejected at the outset. The partnership with GEM (Fiji) Ltd was formed after it won the tender, we are told.
• NADRA has #no #expertise with elections management system. Its expertise is with national identification cards (IDs) and passports. How did it get the contract when it has no expertise or proven record on EMS?
• Did the Elections Office carry out #due #diligence on the company before hiring it?”
• There has been a total #lack of #transparency in the handling of the contract for EMS by the Elections Office.
Why did it not disclose publicly that NADRA had won the tender at the time the decision was made?
People in Fiji only came to know about NADRA’s contract because of a letter by the Supervisor of Elections to the Immigration Department requesting visas for its officials to visit Fiji released on a blog.
• SoE must now disclose publicly who the other bidders were so that we can ascertain why NADRA was awarded the contract
• Why were local companies or even Australian, New Zealand and Indian companies not considered for the contract when they are the ones who have been funding our electoral process?
Fiji Labour Party: The 2006 general elections were rigged
18th May 2006
The Fiji Labour Party is extremely concerned with the manner in which the 2006 general elections were conducted.
There was clear evidence of electoral rigging of the polls, and before that, to disenfranchise voters through the registration process.
A number of candidates have indicated they will mount legal challenges to the results of several Open seats in the Central Division.
Missing names from registration rolls
Major flaws in voter registration dictated against the conduct of free and fair elections by disenfranchising hundreds of voters who would have voted for the Fiji Labour Party.
The issue of missing names become even more crucial in closely contested seats where Labour lost by as few as 9 votes. Scores of voters at polling stations for these constituencies were turned away when their names could not be found on the rolls even though they carried registration slips.
This is not something we are bringing up now that Labour has lost. We have consistently, right from the time when registration began in September 2005, highlighted serious flaws in the registration process and in the compilation of the electoral rolls.
FLP believes these omissions were deliberate to thwart and frustrate FLP voters.
Irregularities in ballot boxes
The FLP is particularly concerned with the sudden inclusion of 12 unidentified boxes at the verification process of ballot papers for the Naitasiri/Nausori Open constituency. This matter will be taken to court.
Record number of Invalid Votes
“How to Vote” ads put out by the Elections Office in Hindi telling voters that they could tick above the line or below the line, has contributed substantially to the high number of invalid votes.
This was clearly wrong and a deliberate attempt by the Elections Office to mislead the Indian voter. The result of this misinformation is reflected in the record number of invalid votes – put at close to 30,000 for this election.
These TV ads were not withdrawn despite our protests until the very eve of the general election.
The Elections office also put out ads misinforming the Indian voter that they could register until July 2006.
All this make the Elections Office a part of conspiracy to misinform and disenfranchise the Indian voter.
Fijileaks: We also heard rigging claims after the 2014 general election
"...Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives." --Robert A. Heinlein, -If This Goes On
click link below:
The Draft Ghai Constitution 2013
The Explanatory Report
Appendage to Draft Constitution
Professor Yash Ghai's Statement