In 2010 I enlarged, in 16 instalments, the backgrounds of individuals, coupists, companies, chiefs, thieves, politicians, and provincial councils who stole thousands and millions from the National Bank of Fiji and disappeared into the sunset. The principal culprit who disappeared with them was Sitiveni Rabuka. He disappeared after losing the 1999 general election and became chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs. We challenge the new SODELPA leader and military cheerleader Rabuka to inform us who, and which military officers, were behind the RFMF Officers 'Mess' debt to the collapsed NBF? This week Rabuka advised the party’s Members of Parliament to never tire of telling the truth - TRUTH! Many NBF debtors were his co-conspirators and supporters from the two racially motivated 1987 coups - now he wants Fiji to trust him!
THE NATIONAL BANK OF FIJI, FIJI SUN'S NEW POSTER BOY RABUKA AND HIS PRAISE OF RFMF: Well, Rabuka might want to tell Fiji who ran this RFMF Officers Mess ($635,207) Debt leading to collapse of the bank
Psalms 37:21: “The wicked borrow and do not repay.”
"Rabuka had appointed Visanti Makrava in December 1987, at the point of a gun. Makrava entered the NBF headquarters in Suva with a group of soldiers saying he had been appointed by the Brigadier, as Rabuka was then. At the time Makrava was manager of the NBF's Samabula branch where the army did its banking...The other link Rabuka had with the bank was through his friend and former army commander, Paul Manueli, who had become NBF chairman in January 1988. He was to stay in that position until June 1992 when he left to become Rabuka's Minister of Finance...Makrava certainly did Rabuka no favours when he was reported to have said, "If I open my mouth, half the Government goes, including the leader."
Police investigations took almost three years to complete. The Fiji Police Force was under-trained and under resourced, and fraud laws antiquated. The investigations were compounded because DPP’s Office, which was destroyed in the 1987 coup, was staffed with under-qualified and inexperienced lawyers. The National Bank prosecutions, led by the then Director of Public Prosecutions, later Justice Nazhat Shameem, were a test of the ability of Fiji’s criminal justice system to try the rich and the powerful
THE RESURRECTION ARMY: THE MEN AND WOMEN who brought coupist RABUKA back from the political wilderness to lead SODELPA
Some of the 19 who supported Sitiveni Rabuka to become leader of SODELPA
1. The Youth Rep
2. Nadi Urban
3. Cakaudrove East & West
4. Tui Cakau Lalabalavu
5. Both Naitasiri
6. Tailevu North and South
7. Savenaca Kamikamica
8. Pio Tabaiwalu
9. Ratu Isoa Tikoca
10. Salote Radrodro
12. Joe Dulakiverata
13. Ratu Jone Kubuabola for Lami
and six others!
"New Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party Major General (Retired) Sitiveni Rabuka advised the party’s Members of Parliament to never tire of telling the truth and to never back down. Rabuka was speaking after MPs and supporters pledged their support for his leadership at a ceremony on Wednesday June 29 at the party office in Suva.
MPs present included the Tui Namosi Hon. Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Hon. Ratu Sela Nanovo, Hon. Salote Radrodro (Deputy Whip), Hon. Josefa Dulakiverata, Hon. Aseri Radrodro and Hon. Mosese Bulitavu.
Party Parliamentary Leader Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa is attending the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians meeting in New Zealand this week while the Party Whip Hon. Ratu Isoa Tikoca and Hon. Viliame Gavoka are attending a UNDP political stability workshop for Melanesia in Nadi this week. Niko Nawaikula, Mika Leaware and Anare Vadei are visiting constituents outside Suva.
Also pledging their support were former Party President Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa, former RFMF Colonel Sakiusa Raivoce, Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese and other senior party figures. Other senior party members in Fiji and other parts of the world have also pledged their support.
Party stalwart Colonel (Retired) Sakiusa Raivoce presented a sevusevu to the new Leader. The sevusevu presentation was accepted on the party leader’s behalf by senior party member from Bua, Mitieli Bulanauca.
Expressing his gratitude for their support, Rabuka acknowledged the presence of his close former military comrades Ratu Waqausa, Col. Raivoce, and former schoolmates present at the gathering.
Rabuka said that the task before the party is difficult but not impossible and that it can only be tackled together, in unity, “Na icolacola qo, meda colata vata, meda veitokoni taka, meda veitomani vata.” (“Let us work together to tackle the task before us, let us support each other and work together,”) - Salote Radrodro, Facebook
GOD and POLITICS: Now, Methodist Church gives SODELPA leader and coupist Rabuka permission to preach as a LAY PREACHER. Will the old racist 'LUCIFER' outpourings against Indo-Fijians pervade the churches?
“It was a matter of cultural survival. Sink or Swim. There was no way we were going to go down. The Indians had become an unbearable presence in Fiji. The Hindus and Muslims are pagans who must be converted to Christianity.” - Sitiveni Rabuka shortly after the 1987 coups
From the Archives
Fiji Sun, 2007
Chiefs, Church, and Coup Culture
The “Tagi ni Taukei” mantra the root of all evil in Fiji
By VICTOR LAL
“Sit down everybody, sit down. This is a takeover. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. You are requested to stay cool, stay down, sit down and listen to what we are going to tell you. Please stay calm, ladies and gentlemen,” announced a man cowardly hiding behind a mask. Another man who was sitting down quietly in the public gallery soon joined the masked man: “Mr Prime Minister, please lead your team down and remain calm. Mr Prime Minister, Sir, will you lead your team down to the right…”
One Captain X, and a 38-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, twenty years ago, at 10am on 14 May 1987, spoke these treasonous words as a “hit squad” of ten soldiers toppled Dr Timoci Bavadra’s NFP/FLP Coalition government in the first military coup in the South Pacific. As the parliamentarians were being detained, one Cabinet minister Dr Tupeni Baba, related to Rabuka, naively but defiantly, shouted, “What kind of a joke is this?” What was being played out in Parliament was no joking game; it was part of a fulfilment of an obnoxious prayer, “The Tagi ni Taukei – Cry of the Taukei”, that had been earlier recited in the home of Methodist Church minister (once the head of the Methodist Dilkusha Indian Circuit), Reverend Tomasi Raikivi, a cousin of Rabuka’s: “Save us, and save our land. You saved the Israelites, when foreigners took their land from them. Dear God, please answer our prayer and do the same for us. Amen”.
Although the prayer ended with “Amen”, what should have been intoned was “Amin” – for the plan was to hunt and hound out fellow Indo-Fijians like Idi Amin did in Uganda.
The other so-called “Man of God” beseeching his Heavenly Lord for guidance was Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, a cousin of the late President Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau. Kubuabola was President of the Fiji Council of Churches and Secretary General of the Bible Society of the South Pacific. It was Kubuabola, who had first termed the extreme Fijian nationalist organization that had sprung up following Dr Bavadra’s election victory as the Taukei Movement, and he was its direct link with Mr Rabuka leading up to the coup.
The two men of the robe were not alone. At the prayer meeting were others, who would later carve out respectable standing and careers from the debris of the 1987 coups: Ratu Finau Mara, the son of the late President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara; Ratu George Kadavulevu, son of the Paramount Chief of Fiji, the late Ratu George Cakobau; Ratu Keni Viuyasawa, the brother of Brigadier Ratu Epeli Nailatikau; Daniel Veitata, Apisai Tora, the late Jone Veisamasama, Qoriniasi Bale and Filipe Bole. There were other countless and faceless chiefs, thieves, and others who were part of Rabuka’s Operation Kidacala (Surprise) plan to seize power.
Some other bogus nationalist taukeis would later crawl out of the shadows, among them Isikeli Mataitoga, a legal officer under the Director of Public Prosecutions and a Captain in the Territorials. He is today ensconced in the Foreign Ministry, charged with making the world understand another coup – “Frank’s 2006 Coup”. Looking back at the 1987 television tapes from Britain’s Channel Four television, in which he (a spokesman for Rabuka) and I prominently featured during the 1987 coups on the opposite sides of the racial divide, I had asked one forthright question: “How many generation does it take for one to become a native?”
I had angrily pointed out to the world television viewers in 1987 that most of those running around beating up Indo-Fijians and claiming to be “indigenous” were themselves “bloody foreigners” – from outer islands of Fiji, from Lau and Bau, which are not connected to the mainland, and from Vanua Levu. “These Fijians have been the cause of all our racial and political problems on the mainland which houses the Parliament. Just look at the western division of Viti Levu – a model of peaceful existence to be emulated by the world.”
Of course, it was an exaggeration to blame all the so-called “bloody foreigners”, but the backgrounds of most of the key players surely pointed to in that direction, except maybe for the backgrounds of Apisai Tora, Sakiasi Butadroka, and the assistant Roko Tui Naitasiri, Ratu Meli Vesikula. An examination of the key players in the 1987 coups does reveal that the majority had come from Navatu-Natewa in Vanua Levu. Dr Baba later observed: “A lot of them, when we were released, took off their masks and came over and actually shook hands with me. They come from my part of the island.”
“They arrive on the mainland of Viti Levu, and in order to stay put, raise the chant – the Cry of the Fijians”, I told Channel Four and BBC television viewers. Their principal target has always been Indo-Fijians, as expressed by coup executioner Rabuka, I said.
Just listen to his racist nonsense about his coup: “It was a matter of cultural survival. Sink or Swim. There was no way we were going to go down. The Indians had become an unbearable presence in Fiji. The Hindus and Muslims are pagans who must be converted to Christianity.” We could say the same about him and other non-Viti Levu born Fijians, I told BBC: “Send these bloody foreigners, including their paramount chiefs, back to their islands and villagers, like the British did in the old colonial days. Rabuka should swim back to his village, Nakobo, or wherever he has come from, in Vanua Levu. He has become an unbearable presence and a disgrace on mainland Viti Levu. But no, we believe that Fiji belongs to all. We should be judged by the content of our character, and not by the colour of our skin.” Race, I argued, was a mere smokescreen for Fijian chiefs, thieves, and other taukei who just want to reach the economic and political mountaintop.
Meanwhile, if the coup was planned in a pastor’s house, it was to be eventually sanctioned in the house of the chiefs – the Great Council of Chiefs - all in the name of “Tagi ni Taukei”. Shockingly, the prominent chiefs had other racial agendas, including Ratu Mara and Ratu Penaia. Instead of criminalizing the coup, they constitutionalized post-coup racism in the new 1990 Constitution that was now being drafted to ensure Fijian paramountcy, irrespective of the fact that the coup was introducing a culture of violence and violations, and terror and terrorism. To be sure, their own chiefly, political, and economic survivals, was their primary agenda.
In fact, Mr Rabuka would later argue that Ratu Mara, despite his protestations, had sanctioned Rabuka’s coup. It seems poor Babu Singh, an Indo-Fijian and life-long personal bodyguard to Ratu Mara, had been more faithful to his oath than his boss to parliamentary democracy, multi-racialism, and the rule of law. In the interim, Fiji would become another country, for the taukei to plunder and prosper from the blood, toil, tears, and taxes of non-taukei, all disguised under the rubric of affirmative action and chiefly rule.
The Tagi ni Taukei slogan again found expression in the 2000 Speight coup, with Ratu Mara, now as President, sacking Mahendra Chaudhry as Prime Minister and appointing a caretaker administration. While describing George Speight and his gang as terrorists, Ratu Mara however noted the concerns of those holding the Chaudhry government hostage, stating “These will be thoroughly examined and solutions considered to further protect and enhance the position of the indigenous Fijian community”.
In the late 1960s Ratu Mara notoriously claimed that if the Indo-Fijians ever gained political power in Fiji, then “Suva would burn to the ground, and all the indigenous Fijians would lose would be the Indians’ records of their debts”. He had never envisaged that he might be consumed in those bogus nationalist flames. Forty years later, in 2000, the Fijians did burn down Suva. Ironically, he lost his own presidency, with the looter’s leader George Speight remarking that, “From where I sit he [Ratu Mara] has no legal claim to the title of president”. In the end the great chief was forced to make a humiliating exit to Lau, a broken and bitter man, blaming among others, the coup godfather Sitiveni Rabuka, for being involved in the 2000 coup.
And yet Ratu Mara’s downfall did not discourage another of his clansman Laisenia Qarase to once again take up the “Tagi ni Taukei” slogan, as he told the UN General Assembly in 2000 in his capacity as the military installed Prime Minister: “The crux of our political crisis in Fiji is that indigenous Fijians and Rotuman communities felt threatened by certain policies which non-indigenous leadership of the Peoples Coalition Government had implemented following their decisive victory in our national elections in May 1999. It was this fear and anxiety about their future that led to mass demonstrations and ultimately the coup d’etat on May 19th this year. It manifested itself also in the mass looting of shops, destruction of property, and threats to people and their families, and unfortunately and tragically, the victims were mainly members of our Indian community.”
The Rotumans had also joined in the unmusical Tagi ni Taukei hymn.
Even Commodore Bainimarama had been temporarily sucked into the nationalist cause, for he had refused to allow Mr Chaudhry and his Peoples Coalition government back into power after ending the hostage crisis. His court affidavits to the High Court had similar nationalistic tune. He had even signed away Speight’s freedom, subject to conditions, in the Muanikau Accord. The military high command, supported by the chiefs, went on to openly embrace Mr Qarase’s racialist demands for political and economic supremacy for the taukei. His regime, despite his racist rhetoric, became the darling of Australia, New Zealand, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the United States.
As for Mr Rabuka, the godfather of the coup culture in Fiji, he should be expelled from the Great Council of Chiefs, which had made Mr Rabuka its only life member to honour him for staging his two military coups in 1987. It will be a fitting punishment, although it is twenty years too late. After all, the chiefs are now saying that they do not recognise Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s coup because they do not believe in coups.
To recall Mr Rabuka’s own words in his book “No Other Way”: “I respect chiefs. I do not like the composition of the Great Council of Chiefs. There are so many non-Chiefs there who will try to dictate the resolutions of the Great Council of Chiefs. The Chiefs are so humble, their personalities and their character do not make them forceful enough when they discuss matters. They will agree, they will compromise…whereas those who are not Chiefs in there tend to very, very selfish.” Whether Mr Rabuka sees himself as one of those self-seeking commoners is another matter, but he only recently indicated that he was willing to lead any reconstituted Great Council of Chiefs.
A complex set of domestic and foreign variables account for the 1987 and 2000 coups. The most prominent has been the Tagi ni Taukei slogan from the chiefs, the church and a vast majority of native Fijians. Now when they are at the receiving end, the mantra of the day is the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and elections. The way forward, as I proposed previously, is Government of National Unity, made up of those who genuinely have Fiji and not merely taukei Fijians, at heart.
There is also no room for the obnoxious views of Mr Rabuka who told his official biographer in 2000: “My hope is that Indians will migrate. We tighten the controls, then Fiji is no longer attractive to the Indian settler as it has been over the last 120 years.”
Reflecting on the 1987 coups he declared: “I have no regrets about the coup. I apologised in the recent (1999) election campaign for the suffering it caused and I am sorry for that, not for the coup. If I was in that situation, I would do it again. It was right. I conducted the coup to seal off the threat of sustained and widespread violence, and to move the country to a form of civilian rule that would be acceptable first to the Fijians. I am at peace with the coup. The history of Fiji would have been tragically different had I not “lanced the boil”.
Let us hope that never again will we hear the Tagi ni Taukei nonsense, that has been the root of all evil and coups in the country, beginning with the 1987 Rabuka coups, which took place on 14 May, 108 years to the day the Indians were introduced as indentured labourers to toil the sugar, copra and tea plantations of Fiji.
JUSTICE DELAYED, AGAIN: Now, Sri Lankan magistrate delegated to hear KILLER Bala's case had to attend a workshop - what bloody workshop?
Parveen Bala’s trial will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lautoka Magistrates Court
From Fijileaks Archive - One judicial workshop excuse after another!
CRYING WITH THE COUPIST: Who is Rabuka apologizing to with his trademark TABUA? He is apologizing to his cheering fans in SODELPA who have been conned into believing that the lay preacher is the saviour
REMORSELESS RABUKA ON BAVADRA'S DEATH: 'On 3 November  Dr Bavadra died after a long battle with cancer. Rabuka's reaction, he recalls, was to FEEL GOOD that his enemy was gone, for a major obstacle had been removed by his death. Bavadra's death confirmed for Rabuka the rightness of his action in May 1987' -
VICTOR LAL to SODELPA supporters abusing him: "Where was Sitiveni Rabuka after the 2006 coup? He was nowhere to be seen or being heard, defending democracy, free press or human, religious or indigenous rights. I stood up, and continue to do so, for the silent majority in Fiji; my response to SODELPA abusers is the same as what I wrote in 2001 after the George Speight's failed coup (see below):
When the very first part of the series [The Rise and Fall of the Chaudhry Government] appeared [in the Daily Post], I received several abusive and death-threatening e-mails from cowards writing under pseudo names. They accused me of peddling the aims and objectives of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP). To my detractors, I would like to inform you that I have never been a member of the FLP nor have voted for them in my life. I am not a banner wielding and ‘messianic fan’ of the deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Pal Chaudhry. He is partly to be blamed for the mess that we are in, but as we have argued in these columns, for totally different reasons. As I had pointed out elsewhere, in response to my ‘misguided countryman’, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, and other like-minded individuals, who attacked me last year for my repeated calls for multi-party democracy in Fiji, I come from a political family who had carried in its veins the multi-racial philosophies of the Alliance Party, which I now find was a great sham and a cover to keep the other non-Fijian races out of political power. In fact, the Alliance Party’s concept of multi-racialism, where power and privilege was to ultimately rest in the hands of the Fijian chiefly families, and the Fijian political elite, had failed to produce a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-religious Fiji. As regard to e-mails, I also received an overwhelmingly constructive ones. There were some, especially from the Fijian readers, which claimed that Fiji’s Fijian problems are the result of the over representation of ‘outlander Fijians’-those hailing from the outer islands-who dominate every aspect of our daily lives: in the civil service, the army and the machinery of government. These people do not speak the languages of the ethnic minorities, have no first-hand experience of multi-racial living and multi-racial suffering, and in some instances had never seen what a ‘live’ Indo-Fijian or Chinese or European or for that matter another Fijian, looked like in real life. Once they arrive on the mainlands, whether as politicians, workers, students, or businessmen, they want to jump the system to achieve everything in the shortest possible time, ‘by hook or crook’. It is these people, the Fijian e-mails claimed, who have caused the greatest suffering to the Fijian people, the nation and the non-Fijian races. Some even unjustly claimed that most of the criminality taking place against the Indo-Fijians throughout Fiji are the handiwork of these ‘outlander Fijians’. A former Fijian soldier even claimed that one could draw the parallels with the plight of the Indo-Fijian villagers to that of the Bosnians: where Serbs from outside Bosnia were in the forefront of rape, hate, murder, looting and burning of the entire Bosnian nation. These Serbs had only one thing in common: an imagined notion of community. Many who came to occupy the Bosnian homes, steal their cars and cows, rape their daughters, and murder their sons, had never set foot on the Bosnian soil. They had never contributed by sweat, toil, or tears to the development of Bosnia. They had come with one mission in life: the advancement of a greater Serbia, to fulfil the dreams of the Serbian dictator Milosevic, the President of Serbia. It was pure ethnic cleansing based on race hatred, ignorance, and jealousy. We are not qualified to comment on this aspect of the so-called ‘Fijian Problem’ because we have not made a detailed study on the matter but all we can say is that George Speight is not an ‘outlander’. He is however of mixed ancestry. We would also like to remind the e-mail readers that there are ‘outlander Fijians’ who have made enormous contribution to our nation, and continue to fight for an all inclusive Fiji. Both, George Speight-now lounging on Nukultraz Island, and I [from my mother's side of the family], hail from Tailevu; in fact, they lived a stone’s throw from each other, and I have many happy memories playing with the children of his village. Most of my ancestors are buried around the village. Speight and I however have never met. We are products of two different generations and two competing visions of Fiji and its beautiful peoples of all races. His mission is to destroy Fiji. My vision is to re-build our beautiful Fiji."
HOLDING SITIVENI RABUKA TO ACCOUNT: As we noted previously, he disappeared from party politics after losing 1999 election, and with him disappeared any scrutiny of where he got money to buy his farm & more
His role in the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji, the "Kama Sutra Affairs", the 'Stephen Affair', his chairmanship of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council, and him appearing with army uniforms during crisis or later with tabuas. Above all, he is still hiding behind the sulu of his 1990 Immunity Decree. Now, he is claiming [Fiji Times, 29 June 20016]: "Since my re-emergence into the political arena, sadly people have looked right back to the beginning in 1987. They never look back to 1997 and the Constitution that we had produced with the co-operation of the National Federation Party and Fiji Labour Party. They forget the effort put in towards the re-engineering of our Constitution between 1992 and 1997 and then the elections of 1999".
We have written on the 1992 election, and below is the continuation, on the 1994 election that led to the 1997 Constitution
"The irony is that Indo-Fijian political leaders had become power brokers in the face of Fijian disunity. The newly-elected Prime Minister Rabuka could not ignore their demands for constitutional change in the light of political and ‘kama sutra’ scandals hovering over his head. But he could find refuge in the constitutional process, and he was forced to initiate negotiations between Reddy and Chaudhry culminating in the setting up of the Constitutional Review Commission (The Reeves Commission)."- Victor Lal, 2001
By VICTOR LAL
Fiji's Daily Post, 2001
It was the second general election under the new racist Constitution promulgated in 1990 after the two military take-overs in 1987 by Sitiveni Rabuka. The election was notable for the fact that the incumbent Prime Minister Rabuka was not expected to do well as dissidents in his party had broken away to form new political parties to challenge his rule. Fiji had undergone several changes prior to the 1994 elections. The President, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, had passed away, and the Great Council of Chiefs had elected Ratu Mara as his successor.
The 1994 election campaign was dominated by intra-ethnic instead of inter-ethnic issues and conflicts and debates centred around communal issues because each group was fighting for communal seats. For the Indo-Fijians, the central issue of the racially biased constitution took a back seat to FLP/NFP rivalry, most of it at a personal level between Mahendra Chaudhry and Jai Ram Reddy. Chaudhry and the FLP were repeatedly taunted by the NFP for their support for Rabuka in the aftermath of the 1992 election. The NFP claimed that the support had yielded nothing. The FLP, on the other hand, accused the NFP for being too close to Rabuka, who unwittingly reinforced this image when he announced that he planned to set up a government of national unity with Reddy after the elections. FLP also attacked NFP for being an ‘Indian’ party as opposed to FLP’s multi-racial character.
On the Fijian side, Josevata Kamikamica hastily launched a new political party, Fijian Association Party (FAP) to challenge Rabuka and the SVT. The FAP had the tacit support of the President Mara who had openly expressed his support for Kamikamica for the premiership at the Great Council of Chiefs but he was outvoted, in part by Rabuka’s politicised nominees on the Council. The SVT also condemned Kamikamica of helping to hand political power back to the Indo-Fijians. Kamikamica, on the other hand, played right into the hands of SVT nationalists when he made the strategic mistake of announcing that he would form a coalition government with the Indo-Fijians if he won the 1994 elections. He had promised to restore integrity and dignity to Fijian leadership.
Tora-Adi Kuini Join Fray
The already fragmented Fijian populace had the spectre of dealing with two other political entrants in the election-Apisai Tora and Adi Kuini Vuikaba-Speed, widow of the deposed premier Bavadra, and the remarried wife of the Australian political consultant Clive Speed. Tora, who has been a member of every political party in Fiji, this time formed his own All National Congress(ANC), which did not win a single seat in the 1992 election. He solicited votes on a platform of multi-racialism (yes!) and the exclusion of the Great Council of Chiefs from politics. At his political side was Adi Kuini. Earlier she had announced her retirement from active politics but she attempted a comeback as a candidate for the ANC. Another candidate for the ANC was David Pickering, who had defected from the GVP. At the end of the day the issue among the Fijians and Indo-Fijians revolved around leadership: did they want Rabuka over Kamikamica and Reddy over Chaudhry?
The election results were interesting. The NFP won an extra 6 seats to increase its MPs to 20. There was also an increase of 5% of Indo-Fijian vote for it. The FLP only managed to win 7 seats. The results suggested that Indo-Fijians preferred Reddy’s cautious and moderate approach to Chaudhry’s often confrontational approach. The Indo-Fijian voters were also not ready for Chaudhry’s politics of multi-racialism.
Among the General Voters, the GVP managed to retain the four seats with the fifth going to Pickering. Tora and Adi Kuini were comprehensively beaten at the polls.
The SVT and Rabuka managed to hold on to power by one seat, increasing their seats to 31. In terms of voting percentages, SVT’s vote actually dropped 4%. The SVT’s Deputy Prime Minister, Filipe Bole, lost his seat to FAP’s candidate Ratu Finau Mara in the Lau constituency, where his father is the hereditary chief of Lau.
The FAP only managed to win 14 % of the Fijian vote which translated into 5 constituencies (3 in Lau and 2 in Naitasiri). The SVT had the upper hand because of the wide gulf between urban and rural Fijians and the fact that rural Fijians were allocated more seats. The military and significant members of the Methodist Church bloc-voted for the SVT boosting its overall win. Kamikamica’s announcement that he would form a Coalition with Indo-Fijians also robbed him of crucial Fijian votes. Kamikamica lost his own seat.
Ratu Mara had no choice but to ask Rabuka and the SVT to form the next government. Rabuka had the support of 37 MPs (31 SVT, 4 GVP, one independent and Rotuma’s Manueli). He did not have to rely on Indo-Fijian MPs. His main critics now nested in the rival FAP political bure. The indigenous Fijian political elite had embarked on an uncertain journey of political rivalry in the future.
The only thing the 1994 election resolved was which Fijian was to become Prime Minister and the answer was Rabuka and not Kamikamica.
The irony is that Indo-Fijian political leaders had become power brokers in the face of Fijian disunity. The newly-elected Prime Minister Rabuka could not ignore their demands for constitutional change in the light of political and ‘kama sutra’ scandals hovering over his head. But he could find refuge in the constitutional process, and he was forced to initiate negotiations between Reddy and Chaudhry culminating in the setting up of the Constitutional Review Commission (The Reeves Commission). The recommendations of the Commission provided the basis on which the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee (JPSC) made its recommendations to Parliament.
The end result, as we know, was the new electoral system, accountability, and multi-party government concept in the 1997 Constitution of Fiji. Fijileaks: To be continued
A FIFTH COUP? Rabuka is an opportunist who has been in the wilderness since losing the 1999 general elections. He brings nothing to SODELPA except one frightening scenario and certainty - A FIFTH COUP in FIJI
THE SON OF A GUN:
Will SODELPA go out at the barrel of a gun because of Sitiveni Rabuka? And that is why, regretfully, Fijileaks calls on him to step down for the good of SODELPA and Fiji
* I make no apology for repeatedly pointing out that the appointment of coupist Sitiveni Rabuka as leader of SODELPA is a GREAT BETRAYAL for all that I have fought for since 1987, 2000 and the 2006 coups;
* In 2001, I had urged Laisenia Qarase to break free from Rabuka's SVT and form a new party to take Fiji forward. He formed the SDL, only to become hostage to Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu's Conservative Alliance Party but redeemed himself by forming a multi-party government with Fiji Labour Party;
* But Qarase was again seduced to come up with nationalistic Bills which provided the perfect excuse for Frank Bainimarama and his military cohorts to overthrow the Qarase government in December 2006;
* Now, Lalabalavu controlled SODELPA has returned to its old nationalistic anchor by appointing Rabuka to lead the party into the 2018 election;
* With Rabuka's appointment SODELPA is trying to deceive ordinary native Fijians into believing that he will restore the GCC, empower the Church and protect land and indigenous rights;
* But Rabuka is an opportunist who has been in the wilderness since losing the 1999 general elections - he brings nothing to SODELPA except one frightening scenario - A FIFTH COUP - if the party wins the election, for there is no way the present MILITARY will stand by and watch Rabuka and his nationalist supporters unravel everything the military has defended since the 2006 coup
* As I pointed out, Rabuka is all about Rabuka! He will do anything to remain relevant, like after the 1992 elections, when he betrayed the FLP:
‘Rabuka had already learned the art of political double speak (what we in Fiji call aage pichie or liu muri) and was prepared to walk a precarious path to stay in power’ - Rabuka's official biographer John Sharpham in Rabuka of Fiji
By VICTOR LAL
Fiji's Daily Post, 2001
The new 1990 Constitution was overtly racist and biased in favour of Fijians. In the new 70 seat Parliament, Fijians were allocated 37 seats, Indo-Fijians 27, General Voters 5 and Rotumans 1. The Senate had 24 seats for Fijians, 9 for other races and 1 for Rotumans. In addition, all the key government posts-the presidency, prime ministership and heads of the judiciary, military, public service-had to be held by Fijians. A quota of at least 50 per cent Fijians was set for new recruitment into the public service.
Another important feature of the distribution of Parliamentary seats was the gerrymandering of the 37 Fijian constituencies because many urban Fijians had voted for Bavadra’s government in the 1987 elections. Thus rural Fijian voters were given 32 constituencies with the remaining 5 going to urban Fijian voters.
With the new racist 1990 Constitution promulgated and Fijian political supremacy guaranteed, the first general election was held in 1992. The principal parties that entered the election contest were: SVT, FLP, NFP, General Voters Party (GVP) and the Fijian Nationalist United Front (FNUF). Meanwhile, the NFP-FLP Coalition had split up following the death of Dr Timoci Bavadra. The FNUF, led by the late Sakiasi Butadroka, was a coalition of extremists from Fijian nationalist party (FNP) and SVT, which was formed in March 1991 with Rabuka as its political leader. The SVT had the backing of the Great Council of Chiefs. The SVT was not necessarily a unified political group and the real issue for the party was who was to become Prime Minister after the election: the ‘Father of the Coups’ Sitiveni Rabuka or the reliable, safe, moderate but right-wing Josevata Kamikamica? .
The political divisions within the Indo-Fijians, who are ‘All Chiefs and No Indians’, was not surprising. As the old coolie saying goes: ‘You put two Indians on a desert island and on your return next day to pick them up, you will find they have become three Indians.’ The FLP, led by Chaudhry, initially threatened to boycott the elections, stating that taking part would be tantamount to endorsing the 1990 ‘racist constitution’. However, at the last minute, the FLP leaders changed their stance and contested the election. The result of the 37 Fijian seats were as follows: SVT 30, FNUF 5 and the last 2 went to Independents. The 27 Indo-Fijian seats were equally shared: the NFP won 14 and the FLP the other 13. The GVP won the 5 seats. The election results created the inevitability of a Coalition government.
Although the SVT was theoretically in a position to form a coalition government, Rabuka was not assured of the coveted Prime Ministership. Some newly-elected SVT parliamentarians had thrown in their lot with Rabuka’s arch political rival, Josevata Kamikamica, a former Finance Minister in the pre-election Interim Government.
Rabuka appeared to have 18 votes with Kamikamica only two, Filipe Bole four, and Ratu William Tonganivalu three. However Bole, Rabuka’s former teacher, freed his votes to allow them to support the majority-holder, in this case Rabuka who needed 36 confirmed votes from those who now held seats in the new House to grab the post of Prime Minister. He went to the Government House asking President Ratu Penaia Ganilau to appoint him as Prime Minister, declaring that he had 42 votes. Ganilau asked Rabuka to demonstrate his support with accompanying signatures to confirm the numbers. Ganilau also was acutely aware that that another high-ranking chief, Ratu Mara, and a number of SVT personalities had been backing Kamikamica.
In a cruel twist of irony, both the rival factions of the SVT began to court support from the NFP and FLP, the very parties deposed to ensure Fijian political supremacy in perpetuity. The SVT, formed to unify the Fijian people, could not agree on who should be its parliamentary leader. Rabuka was shocked to learn that Kamikamica had cut a deal with the veteran Indo-Fijian lawyer and politician Jai Ram Reddy and the NFP, and as a result Kamikamica had 30 votes to Rabuka’s 26.
In desperation, the desperately power-hungry Rabuka, who had imprisoned Mahendra Chaudhry twice, and had terrorised him and his family since 1987, shamelessly turned to the FLP leader for his political survival. But first Rabuka had to be humbled and humiliated, and reminded that power flows from the fountain of a ball point pen and not from the barrel of a Fiji Military Forces gun with a sticker reading, ‘God Loves You’. So Chaudhry and the FLP laid down the conditions for their support for Rabuka: a review of the Constitution; repeal of several controversial labour decrees, scrapping of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and land tenure reforms.
The so-called Methodist preacher, a decorated solider, and a cynically pragmatic Fijian nationalist Rabuka, who desperately needed Chaudhry’s 13 historical votes, agreed to sign a letter committing himself to a deal with the FLP. The letter read: ‘I acknowledge the proposed outlined in your letter (2 June) delivered this morning. I have considered your proposals favourably and agree to take action on these issues, namely the constitution, VAT, labour decree reforms and land tenure on the basis suggested in your letter. I agree to hold discussions on the above issue in order to finalise the machinery to progress the matter further.’ In return, he got Chaudhry’s 13 votes to take him well in excess of his required 36 for the post of Prime Minister. The FLP however informed Rabuka that it would not be part of the governing coalition. Desperate to remain Prime Minister, Rabuka had accepted all the conditions in writing, only to dishonour them on resuming power. He had managed to secure the support of the GVP, the Rotuman representative Paul Manueli, his former army commander, and 2 independents.
Now he had the numbers and the prime ministership in his sulu, Rabuka backed away from the agreement with the FLP. A spokesman of his insisted that all Rabuka had agreed to do was to discuss the issues that had been raised. There was, he stated, no agreement to do any more than this. As his official biographer John Sharpham recently put it, ‘Rabuka had already learned the art of political double speak (what we in Fiji call aage pichie or liu muri) and was prepared to walk a precarious path to stay in power’.
King Maker makes ‘Deal with the Devil’
What about Chaudhry who had done a deal with Rabuka and delivered him and a faction of the SVT the prime ministership? When Chaudhry was asked if he had done ‘a deal with the devil?’ he responded: ‘No, there was no deal; the fact is we laid down conditions’. He also acknowledged the irony of the situation between the jailed and the jailor. ‘Oh, yes’, he responded when asked, ‘we hope we can enjoy that type of irony, which does not happen very often’.
Chaudhry clearly relished the role of king-maker where an Indo-Fijian was called upon to arbitrate and settle question of leadership in the chiefly sponsored SVT. It is surprising that the SVT had not run to the Great Council of Chiefs, whom they have recently elevated as the guardians of Fijian political aspirations, to settle the question of political leadership within their own ranks.
Meanwhile Kamikamica continued, in a typical Fijian fashion, to harbour his political ambitions against Rabuka. He refused to enter the post-1992 election Rabuka Cabinet, feeling that he would have been a better Prime Minister. Rabuka’s political woes however continued to shadow him in office, notably the ‘Stephen Affair’. (We will write about the Stephen Affair soon)
Rabuka managed to ward off Chaudhry and his colleagues threatened withdrawal of Labour’s support for him by forming an inter-parliamentary committee to recommend appropriate machinery for considering changes to the 1990 Constitution. In December 1992 he caused a stir in his own party and a surprise by proposing consideration of a government of national unity (GNU). According to Sharpham, ‘In March 1993 the government sent a paper on the concept to the Great Council of Chiefs, saying that the proposed government of national unity should be considered, but underplayed it as being of major importance. Mara, with other chiefs, questioned the need for such a government, and he led many chiefs who felt the idea had little merit. The chiefs decided to send it out to the provincial councils for their reaction, a move that was designed to quietly bury Rabuka’s proposal. This move was seen by some, to be aided and abetted, it has to be said, by some of the prime minister’s senior colleagues and advisors’.
The SVT, and the Caucus complained at not having been consulted. Reddy half-heartedly wondered about numbers and representation. ‘We should have a figure’, he said, ‘that bears some resemblance to their [Indo-Fijian] numbers, contribution and work, and just not a token number’.
On the Indo-Fijian political front, the rivalry between the NFP and FLP intensified to the benefit of the NFP. In October 1993 the NFP candidates had roundly defeated their FLP Indo-Fijian candidates in the municipal elections. The FLP had also fallen out with Rabuka in 1993 when he did not honour his promises in return for the FLP’s support for the premiership in 1992.
On the Fijian political front, politics essentially still revolved around Rabuka and his political foe, Kamikamica. Rabuka’s critics seized the adverse aspects of the Report into the ‘Stephens Affair’ and called for his resignation. Rabuka brushed aside the resignation calls and even survived a motion of no-confidence in him. However, six Fijian MPs including Kamikamica, and David Pickering from the GVP, finally succeeded in their dogged pursuit to get rid of Rabuka when they voted with the Opposition against his budget 36-33 (with one abstention). The dissidents had hoped that Mara might either appoint Kamikamica or Ratu William Tonganivalu to form a new government.
Instead, Rabuka exercised his constitutional right to dissolve his government and call for new elections.
UNFOLDING DEBATE: Ignoring Sitiveni Rabuka's coup past will condemn SODELPA to irrelevancy at the polls. His own admission that it was the Cakaudrove clan which put his name up for leader will ignite TRIBALISM
And here is another assessment of Rabuka by a veteran former Fijian journalist JALE MOALA, who as editor of Fiji's Daily Post, had locked his Indo-Fijian staff members upstairs for safety and the native Fijian staff members guarded the front doors to protect them as the looting and arson raged outside during the George Speight coup in 2000. Moala was one of many journalists who had fallen foul of Rabuka's 1987 racist coups
"Rabuka is a real paradox. We'll see him try to reinvent himself to justify his election as party leader -- charming and seemingly compassionate -- but when things don't go his way we'll see something else, after all this was the coup leader who started off determined to stamp his mark on the stage, only to melt in the hands of Jai Ram Reddy and
came back full circle."
As the new leader of Sodelpa what do we expect Sitiveni Rabuka to bring to the political landscape? Same old same old or something new. A bit of both because there are two sides of Rabuka that are completely contrasting and when these two sides collide we get a Rabuka that is inconsistent and confusing. Let me point to one very early example 50 years ago.
As a student at Queen Victoria School, Rabuka was a high-achiever, obedient and loyal, qualities which made him the school headboy in 1967, led him into a successful military career and made him a double sports international for Fiji. However, back at QVS in 1967, when a dispute arose between the students and the principal, Rabuka took the side of the students as they threatened to bring the school to a standstill in a strike. Even when the dispute was resolved Rabuka still turned up the next day at the school assembly to read the scriptures wearing sun glasses.
We have seen these two sides of Rabuka throughout his political career; on a good day he'd call for national unity and on a bad day he'd warn Indo-Fijians to follow the example of Sonia Gandhi in India; immediately after his first coup in 1987 he sought and received the endorsement and blessing of the Great Council of Chiefs and later when he was outmaneuvered by Ratu Mara he turned against the chiefly system and promoted the concept of meritocracy as the gospel of the future.
Rabuka is a real paradox. We'll see him try to reinvent himself to justify his election as party leader -- charming and seemingly compassionate -- but when things don't go his way we'll see something else, after all this was the coup leader who started off determined to stamp his mark on the stage, only to melt in the hands of Jai Ram Reddy and came back full circle.
If you are expecting smooth sailing you might be disappointed.
THE TABUA MAN: Sitiveni Rabuka's favourite 'magic' tool - the tabua!
CHANGE OF CHORUS: Now, it is Rabuka's followers hurling abuse at VICTOR LAL. We say for the last thirty years our founding editor-in-chief has stood up against all forms of dictatorship and will not bow to threats!
We challenge Sitiveni Rabuka to call for the removal of the 1990 Immunity so he can answer for his crimes - apologizing is NOT ENOUGH if we want to end the COUP CULTURE in Fiji. And he, and his followers, must stop invoking GOD as their inspiration for him to lead SODELPA! Where was this opportunist since the 2006 coup? He was hiding and not
SPEAKING UP for the oppressed of Fiji! Rabuka is all about Rabuka!
“Every time we shrug when we hear of another midnight raid, the cries of terrorized women and children, then somewhere in Fiji another potential [Klaus] Barbie [The Nazi Butcher of Lyon in France] is getting a start in life,” said the former Methodist communications secretary in 1987, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki
By VICTOR LAL
29 December 2006
“Every time we shrug when we hear of another midnight raid, the cries of terrorized women and children, then somewhere in Fiji another potential [Klaus] Barbie [The Nazi Butcher of Lyon in France] is getting a start in life,” said the former Methodist communications secretary in 1987, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, now head of the Citizens Constitutional Forum. He was speaking out against the reign of terror and torture practised mostly against the Indo-Fijian community by Sitiveni Rabuka, his military henchmen, prominent chiefs, and the dreaded and racist Fijian taukei foot soldiers following the 1987 coups.
Now, nearly twenty years later, we are beginning to hear the first ripples of ‘torture tactics’ by the military against the pro-democracy supporters. But let us hope and pray that Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s military will not go down the road that Mr Rabuka took his troops, chiefs, and taukeists like Apisai Tora to achieve his objective of ‘Fiji for the taukei Fijians’.
The first casualty was the media when Mr Rabuka launched his coup on 14 May 1987. In an editorial on 15 May, the old Fiji Sun asked: “What right has a third-ranking officer to attack the scared institutions of Parliament? To presume he knows how best this country shall be governed for the good of all? The answer is: NONE. The people must decide their own future: not self-promoting dictators and not a Council appointed by and presided over by Lieutenant-Colonel Rabuka. But was he encouraged by others to act? And if so, who were they?”
We now know who they were, and many of those are still around, in positions of influence and authority. Most of them were prominent paramount chiefs, civil servants, church leaders, lawyers, magistrates, judges, and fallen politicians. They were indigenous Fijians, some of whom, and their offspring, are today hiding from the military in a great game of hide and seek following the 5 December coup. The former governor-general and Mr Rabuka’s paramount chief Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, made it easier for Mr Rabuka to crush civil disobedience by warning that the civilian-cum military regime would not hesitate to use emergency powers it had under martial law.
On 15 May 1987, shortly after the Fiji Sun editorial, the Ministry of Information directed the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun to cease publication. The RFMF occupied Radio Fiji. The same day armed soldiers’ ejected staff of both the two newspapers from their offices, and foreign journalists were questioned by the RFMF. In a sickening spectacle, the raid on the Times office was led by one of its own reporters and army reservist E.T. Volavola in full combat gear carrying a rifle and backed up by a squad of troops.
Mr Rabuka announced a Council of Ministers (COM), which was dominated by ex-Alliance Party Ministers (including Ratu Mara who had lost the election to Dr Timoci Bavadra). Mr Rabuka said his military regime was in full control and the people had accepted the coup, and called on the international community to recognize his regime. He said he had abrogated the Constitution and the regime would govern Fiji by decree. He brushed aside the demands of the Council of Churches “in the name of Christianity” to release the MPs he had kidnapped and was holding as hostages, and “surrender to the sovereign authority of the land”, and restore “our duly elected government”.
He instead moved into deposed Prime Minister Dr Bavadra’s office. But when the Fiji Sun questioned Mr Rabuka’s right to occupy high office, he threw the general manager and one of the directors, who was also President of the Fiji Law Society, in the same prison cell as that occupied by Dr Bavadra. The Sun was singled out for severe maltreatment. Sadly, most of the harassment and intimidation was carried out against the Indo-Fijian journalists, for after all, Mr Rabuka had executed the coup to give Fijians the control of Fiji.
Some Fijian journalists, therefore, switched sides, and became Mr Rabuka’s propagandists, reporting on their Indo-Fijian colleagues and their families. In the end, the Fiji Times agreed to operate under partial military censorship, while the old Fiji Sun was forced to cease operations in the country after it published allegations that Mr Rabuka had bought a house in Suva favoured by wealthy Indo-Fijians and expatriates, on a 100% mortgage from a prominent Alliance politician. In the end, some of Fiji’s best Indo-Fijian journalists were forced to emigrate or seek political asylum abroad. Some of us were not only on Mr Rabuka’s hit list but even had our passports confiscated, ending up overnight from being citizens to wandering international refugees.
The next group that Mr Rabuka and his cronies targeted were his political opponents. Shortly before the coup the taukeists firebombed the law offices of Jai Ram Reddy, now an International Criminal Court judge. The late Sir Vijay Singh was detained and his passport seized, prompting him to ask: “What kind of normalcy is [Ganilau] thinking about when things like this happen.”
Dr Bavadra’s spokesman and current Suva lawyer Richard Naidu was arrested and detained on different occasions. He was chased and beaten up by Taukeists, and finally had his Fiji nationality revoked, and ordered to leave the country for New Zealand. Another legal adviser of Dr Bavadra, John Cameron, had his work permit withdrawn after he filed civil suit against dissolution of Parliament, and had also filed claim with the Supreme Court on behalf of a client harassed by the RFMF, seeking a declaration that State of Emergency and 1987 Emergency Regulations were unconstitutional.
Among judges arrested included Justices Kishore Govind and Rooney, including Chief Magistrate Howard Morrison. Even the Police Commissioner, an Indo-Fijian Pramesh Raman, whose job Mr Rabuka had applied a week before the coup, was taken into custody. Several Indo-Fijian lawyers and academics were also taken into custody, mostly on legal advice of some Fijian lawyers.
Although the vast majority of victims were Indo-Fijians, some prominent Fijians like Amelia Rokotuivanua and Dr Steven Ratuva came in for rough treatment. The two were “lectured” by Lieutenant Pio Wong on how to be “true Fijians” and Dr Ratuva had spells in detention, and at one point the military allegedly tried to poison him with the prepared food it had brought to his house. In 1986 he had claimed in a paper that the RFMF’s only function lay in internal repression or as a conduit for chiefly advancement. He had also suggested that “intermarriages between the sons and daughters of chiefs (including the chiefly officers in the army) helps to consolidate the chiefly comprador clique which ensures the perpetuation of nepotism and inequality in Fijian society”.
On 25 September Mr Rabuka carried out his second coup. Violence and intimidation was encouraged, and a group of escaped prisoners were escorted by the military to march to the Government House to demand pardons. When the GCC refused to recognise Mr Rabuka as president, he declared Fiji a republic, declared himself the head of state and no longer recognised the GCC as such. However, on 5 December he agreed to hand over power to the new President Ratu Penaia and the Prime Minister Ratu Mara. Mr Rabuka took charge of Home Affairs, the CJ returned to the bench, Sailosi Kepa was recalled as High Commissioner from London to take over as Minister for Justice and A-G, and Berenado Vunibobo became Minister of Trade and Commerce. Dr Bavadra retorted: “It is a military government in a civilian cloak.”
The international community resumed trade and diplomatic links with Fiji. Australia conferred Mr Rabuka legitimacy by announcing that it was recognizing Fiji as a state rather than the government of Fiji. Ratu Penaia granted Mr Rabuka and his close circle of oppressors, questionable amnesty, and the Fijians introduced apartheid against the Indo-Fijians. Ratu Penaia also formally signed new Internal Security Decree, giving army power to shoot to kill anyone found with illegal arms that resisted arrests.
As Minister for Internal Security, Mr Rabuka had extraordinary range of powers, which violated international standards of human rights, including the detention of any person for two years; order restriction of movement, freedom of expression, employment, residence or activity; prohibit the printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation or possession of any written material, and prohibit its communication through worth of mouth etc.
And yet Mr Rabuka was free to publish his book “No Other Way”. But no criticism of his book was permitted, and one USP Indo-Fijian lecturer who dared to criticise it, was detained and severely beaten up. My own critical counter-book Fiji: Coups in Paradise was banished from the bookshelves of Fiji. As Mr Rabuka plunged the economy into a decline, he was offered $50,000 from an Australian publishing company as a retainer for his book and a TV documentary. The RFMF, commenting on brief detentions and harassment said, “Due to the current conditions everyone is suspect until proven innocent”. Mr Rabuka went on to become the Prime Minister and chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs on the bandwagon of nationalist and racist ideology, an ideology which Commodore Bainimarama claims he wants to stamp out once and for all.
If that is so, let us hope that he will not follow in the footsteps of Mr Rabuka, for many of my own family members still bear the scars of Mr Rabuka’s storm troopers on their chests, and so do many other citizens from the 1987 and 2000 coups.
The Indo-Fijians, in 1987, were beaten, forced to stand in sewage pools, and subjected to other forms of humiliating punishments. The vast majority of Fijians remained silent to the oppression and racism in their midst. In fact, many joined in its continuation for the next ten years. But freedom, as former military strongman Mr Rabuka found out only very recently (after he was successfully defended by the President of the Fiji Law Society, Mr Sharma, on inciting mutiny), is a cherished and inviolable right.
In November 2006, during the trial of five soldiers who had abducted and tortured an Indo-Fijian USP academic Dr Anirudh Singh over the burning of the 1990 racist Constitution, Jioje Konrote, now President of Fiji, testified that there was a secret Special Operations Security Unit, which had been set up after the first Rabuka coup.
On 24 October 1990 Singh while walking along Rewa Street, Suva, was assaulted by RFMF soldiers Waqa Vakaloloma and Uate Qalo and Samuela Keni who then over-powered him and pushed him into the rear seat of a car which was being driven by Iliesa Raiqiso who in turn were assisted by Qalo who was sitting in the rear seat of the car.
The car was then driven to Colo-i-Suva where Singh was blindfolded by putting pads on both eyes before a strip of cloth was tied around his head in a blind-fold and a balaclava pulled securely over his head and tied around his neck. Singh was then walked into the woodland where his hands were tied behind him after which he was made to sit down and another rope then tied around his feet and slung around his neck. He said one of the soldiers sat behind him holding a noose around his head and keeping him pulled backwards.
Singh was told not to make any sound or try to escape. Afterwards he was repeatedly punched and kicked violently in the head, face and body and interrogated whilst he remained defencelessly bound. His captivity lasted some 11 hours.
Towards night fall, the five soldiers either jointly or severally put on dark balaclavas and unbound Singh. He was then assaulted violently on the head and face from both sides for a prolonged period lasting some 10 minutes and methodically smashed up both his hands with a metal pipe furnished with a wooden handle. Afterwards, the soldiers cut Singh's hair, burnt it with cigarettes and disappeared into the darkness, taking Singh's shoes with them and leaving him alone in the dark in the forested hill.
As a result of this abduction and torture Singh was hospitalised for three weeks at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva and he suffered the following injuries: (a) Facial bruising around the left eye and orbit with sub-conjunctival haemorrhage;(b) Rope burns around both wrists;(c) Fracture of right radial styloid;(d) Compound fracture of the left fifth finger; (e) Fracture of base of fifth meta-carpal;(f) Abrasions of both hands;(g) Superficial burns of left shoulder and right forearm consistent with cigarette burns;(h) Contusions of anterior chest wall; and (i) Decreased sensation of left hand due to neuropraxia (bruising) of radial nerve from the wrist-rope. The brutal soldiers were led by SOTIA PONJIASI.
Bizarrely, instead of putting the torturers on trial, Singh and six others had been charged in the Magistrates' Court of Suva on two counts of (1) having burnt a copy of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji on 18th October 1990 with seditious intention contrary to section 65(1)(iv) and 66(1)(a) of the Penal Code and (2) having taken part in an unlawful assembly on the same day contrary to section 86 and 87 of the Penal Code. The five soldiers later pleaded guilty and were given suspended prison sentences and Singh was awarded compensation.
'They have a choice, to remain in the wilderness or join another party led by another COUP leader', blurts Rabuka arrogantly in response to the resignation of Mick Beddoes and Pita Waqavonovono from SODELPA
We say instead of basking in another 'Cakaudrove led Coup', Rabuka should CHOOSE - to keep hiding under the sulu of immunity or join his coupist comrade Frank Bainimarama in a grand political coalition
"...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