"It is a matter of grave concern that a defendant in live proceedings, who happens to be AG as well general secretary of a rival political party and Minister Responsible for Elections and the Electoral Decree, be allowed to change electoral rules by decree, weeks away from the elections. It is also very disrespectful to the Court." NFP Statement
Fijileaks: Aiyaz Khaiyum and his side-kick Frank Bainimarama saw nothing wrong in appointing Robin Nair as Fiji's Ambassador to UAE - even though he held Australian citizenship and had bought his dual citizenship under the regime's Dual Citizenship Decree of 2009
Justice Kamal Kumar should have disqualified himself from hearing case, for he was once senior associate with lawyer Young, chairman of the Electoral Commission, one of the defendants
August 5, 2014
The National Federation Party condemns in the strongest terms, the amendment to the electoral decree issued last week with regard to who is "ordinarily resident" in Fiji to qualify to stand for elections. The amendment has ruled out two of the party's leading candidates from standing in the upcoming general elections, Ms. Makereta Waqavonovono and Mr. Jone Vakalalabure.
These two highly qualified Fiji islanders would have been two of the best parliamentarians to have served our country. This is the calibre of Fiji islanders that our country needs to take Fiji onto another level of service to the public. Yet the interim administdation sees it fit to disqualify them for being away acquiring higher professional skills that would have served our country greatly through parliament. The process of amending the decree last week was just as bad as the substance of the amendment.
The amendment was from the office of the Attorney General whose most senior lawyer was representing the defendants in litigation before the high court. Litigation brought by Ms. Waqavonovono asking the court for constitutional and human right redress with regard to her eligibility to stand for elections. And as we all know, the AG is also general secretary of a rival political party and one of the defendants in that litigation as Minister responsible for the Elections.
It is a matter of grave concern that a defendant in live proceedings , who happens to be AG as well general secretary of a rival political party and Minister Responsible for Elections and the Electoral Decree, be allowed to change electoral rules by decree, weeks away from the elections. It is also very disrespectful to the Court.
The party also expresses great concern that while the matter of the litigation was live before a Judge of the high court, the Chief Justice signed the amendment decree as Acting President of Fiji. The National Federation Party is not taking this issue of disenfranchisement by decree lightly. The party will be exploring its options further.
After eight years, the people of Fiji deserve, at the very least - free and fair elections. One that is free of interventions by decree from one of the parties contesting those elections.
Jone Vakalalabure says he has been denied his political right as a Fiji citizen under the 2013 Constitution following his disqualification to contest the 2014 Elections. Vakalalabure who today confirmed his stepping down as a candidate for the National Federation Party (NFP) along with former Legal Aid Director Makereta Waqavonovono says he has been discriminated because of the recent change to the Electoral Decree.
The amendment to the decree changed last Thursday required that persons must be living in the country for at least 18 months immediately before being nominated, effectively ruling out the duo because they had been away for studies last year. Vakalalabure was away in Australia for a year to pursue higher professional studies after which he returned to Fiji in mid-2013. It has always been my desire to use my skills and knowledge to contribute to the development of Fiji and our people,Vakalalabure said. To contest the election, he also had to make personal sacrifices, one of which was to relocate his five-year-old son from attending kindergarten in Suva to attend a village kindergarten under his mother's guardianship in order to campaign around Fiji. "Making the transition back into village life for my son was a huge challenge for him and we have had to work with him through this adjustment period only to have to now redo these arrangements",Vakalalabure said.
"Despite this I owe my heartfelt gratitude to voters in Cakaudrove, particularly in Natewa, Tunuloa, Rabi, Taveuni, Kioa and the greater Savusavu area for opening their doors to me and their support and encouragement while I was campaigning out there. He also encouraged supporters to continue to support NFP saying their policies is guaranteed to alleviate poverty and hardship and determine a brighter future for them and the country.The experience while daunting has not left me discouraged and this minor obstacle has made me more determined to return in the next four years to contest the next general election."Vakalalabure further says he will continue campaigning for the NFP and will decide on his plans going forward after the September 17 election. Source: Fijilive, 5 August 2014