NFP condemns intimidation and political persecution
The Management Board of the National Federation Party decided that the Parliamentary caucus of the NFP boycotts the President's address for the new term of Parliament- in protest over the continuing political persecution and intimidation of the Opposition and the draconian muzzling of free expression and assembly in Fiji.
As a result NFP Leader Honourable Professor Biman Prasad and NFP Parliamentary Whip Honourable Prem Singh did not attend today’s opening of Parliament.
The Management Board chaired by Party President Honourable Roko Tupou Draunidalo were strongly of the view that the Party’s MPs were not elected to be props for the Fiji First Government's farcical democracy.
Just this weekend, one Opposition Member of Parliament and NFP Leader; a Trade Unionist who was a former NFP Leader; 2 members of the SODELPA party and a NGO member were arrested so swiftly for a meeting that took place a week or so ago.
The Management Board strongly condemned the arrests and detention as intimidation and political persecution in a country whose Government prides itself as promoting “true democracy, equal citizenry and fundamental freedoms”. Nothing can be further from the truth.
We firmly believe that this is just a continuation of many other offensive actions against the Opposition and the people of Fiji since the last general elections, such as:
- The suspension of two Opposition Members of Parliament for excessive periods from Parliament depriving them of the ability to serve their constituents;
- The amendment of the Parliamentary Standing Orders to allow it to pursue a one-sided legislative agenda and to ignore the views of the Opposition and the public;
- The amendment of the Parliamentary Standing Orders by the Government to remove the Hon. Professor Biman Prasad as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
- The excessive use of the parliamentary standing order 51 by the Government to fast-track legislation for which there is no need, thereby ensuring a lack of proper Parliamentary scrutiny or consultation for many laws that it enacts’
5. The refusal of the Government to facilitate an office of independent Parliamentary counsel;
6. The preservation of various draconian Decrees and Promulgations in the 2013 Constitution including the decrees regulating the media, electoral and political party issues;
7. The lack of urgency by the Government to implement the recommendations of the reports of the Multi Observer Group and the Electoral Commission before the 2018 elections; and
8. The lack of any amendment or improvement to those Decrees particularly as the Attorney General remains the Minister for Elections while being the Secretary General of the Fiji First political party.
The eyes of the world have been on Fiji this weekend. The Government’s lack of commitment to democratic principles and processes is clear. The people will give their verdict in due course.
Hon Roko Tupou Draunidalo