Fijileaks Opinion Columnist
WHEN my own BROTHER told me in a phone call that he was switching his voting intention at the last minute and will be voting for FIJIFIRST PARTY, all my gentle warnings to SODELPA campaign apparatchiks and top leadership came true: 'PLEASE stop parroting about chiefs, church, GCC, qoliqoli, and land and indigenous rights. A vast majority of urban and progressive commoner Fijians, especially native Fijian youth voters, are not interested in these issues. And worst, it will frighten the hell out of voters. Native Fijians, Indo-Fijians and Others will conclude that a vote for SODELPA on these issues will translate to a vote for another COUP. After all, these were the issues which Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum cited as reason, and the need in 2006, to oust the SDL-FLP coalition government.'
THE RESPONSE from one firebrand Johnny-Come-Lately SODELPA campaigner to me: 'JUST SHUT UP. You and Aiyaz are cut from from same cloth - closet Indo-Fijian nationalists.' He reminded me of all the opinion columns I have written on the above issues, most highly critical of those i-taukei institutions. 'Kai, Aiyaz is simply putting into action what you and other Indo-Fijians have been advocating for years - to reduce us to second-class citizens.'
But election, I told him and others, is about winning and not playing the Indigenous or Race Card, especially when the voters had been living under a brutal dictatorship for the last eight years. I will return to SODELPA. To my BROTHER NOW. 'Why are you bloody voting for FFP which has put me on the list of banned persons from entering Fiji after I had revealed that Bainimarama's then Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry was hiding $2million in his secret bank account?'
His reply: "Bhai, just look at what SODELPA is offering us. It is a recipe for another COUP. No way I am going to vote for them or other parties which seem to be in cahoots with them. They all ran away after 2006 coup. What guarantee is there that these chaps will stand up for us? I have changed my mind. I am voting for FijiFIRST Party. It does not mean that I am endorsing your banning order nor that I am supporting Frank and Aiyaz. I am voting for the Devil I know for the last eight years in this election. Sorry bhai. I know I am letting you down.' He had reason to fear another coup.
He has lived through 'four and a half COUPS' in Fiji. I said: 'It is your choice but you will live to regret it. It will mean if FFP wins, you will not see me in Fiji for the next four years. The entry ban will most likely to continue against me.' Fijileaks Editor: To be continued!