He has made many remarks that require a response and I do so as follows:
FB Mr. President, I stand before you as the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Fiji, having led my Fiji First Party to a decisive victory in the first genuinely democratic election in Fijian history last September.
RTK Apart from the removal of the ethnic voting element used in previous elections, the 2014 elections held were not democratic, free, fair or transparent and the ‘decisive victory’ was based on an imposed constitution and totally controlled and manipulated election process.
There is nothing democratic about a system of voting that allows a candidate with 830 votes to enter Parliament and deny 32 others who polled more a seat in the House.
The first truly Democratic Constitution
FB: That election took place on the basis of a new Constitution that for the first time, creates a secular State, establishes a common and equal citizenry, reaffirms civil and political rights and also guarantees the Fijian people an unprecedented array of social and economic rights. This includes the right to education, the right to adequate health care, adequate food and water, housing, sanitation, economic participation, a just minimum wage, social security and specific rights for people with disabilities and children.
RTK: They say that if you repeat your lies often enough, you begin to believe it, and I am certain that is what QORVIS and their propaganda machine have instilled in Frank Bainimarama and Ayes [Fijileaks:Aiyaz] Khaiyum. Just keep lying and soon it becomes the truth.
That would be true if the entire population decided to give up and submit to our usurpers. But thankfully 202,650 citizens or 41% of the registered voters did not vote for Frank Bainimarama. So only 91,064 votes separates the support for the Government vs. the support that the Opposition and other unsuccessful parties represent, and this is despite what we believe to be a compromised election process and when we present our final report the people will then know what took place.
Frank Bainimarama knowingly misleads the International community by omitting to speak truthfully and factually about the origins of the 2013 Constitution.
Having trashed the People’s 2012 Draft Constitution, Ayes Khaiyum drafted the 2013 Constitution which was imposed on the people. The motivation for this was that the 2012 People’s draft did not grant the usurpers of our Democracy Frank Bainimarama and his co-conspirators Ayes Khaiyum & co, absolute immunity.
The 2013 Constitution does not reflect the wishes of the people, Its equal citizenry provisions are negated by the fact that only Frank Bainimarama and his coup co-conspirators are immune from prosecution for treason and other crimes including murder and Human Rights abuse, while all other citizens are subject to the law. The 2013 Constitution retains all 17 Decrees imposed as part of the Ayes Khaiyum inspired ‘Cultural Autonomy’ which Frank Bainimarama has adopted as the Government’s blue print for the systematic exploitation, marginalization and dispossession of the Indigenous people.
The first truly democratic Bill of Rights
FB: Never before have the Fijian people enjoyed such a high level of protection as they now have in the Bill of Rights that is the centerpiece of our Constitution. These rights are enforceable through an independent judiciary and by a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission established in accordance with the Paris Principles.
The rights of the Fijian people are now entrenched in a way that never occurred under any of the three previous constitutions that governed our country since we gained independence from Britain 45 years ago.
RTK: The systematic destruction of the itauki culture and heritage is underway. The entrenched protection of the indigenous community in the 1997 constitution is no more and we remain the most vulnerable community in Fiji today.
The Bill of Rights in the 2013 constitution carries with it limitations that can be implemented by the Government at any time and despite the so called High level of ‘Human Rights Protection’ espoused by Frank Bainimarama, his silence about his own involvement in the abuse of the rights of Josefa Bilitaki almost immediately following his so called democratic elections takes hypocrisy to a new level.
Never before have our people, been subjected to more Human Rights abuses, liumuri and treachery than under the leadership of Frank Bainimarama.
The first truly Democratic application of Indigenous Rights
FB: In stark contrast to other countries such as Australia and USA for example – the colonial experience in Fiji was not one of large scale dispossession of land rights and marginalization of the indigenous people.
Today, approximately 91 per cent of all land in Fiji is owned through customary ownership by the indigenous people and cannot be permanently alienated under any circumstances. This has given the indigenous people a level of security that has been noticeably absent in other countries and has been central to their social and economic wellbeing.
So, Mr. President, indigenous ownership of land, as well as the recognition of their unique culture, traditions and language are protected under our Constitution and are under no threat whatsoever
RTK: In every society and in every community there lurks a Judas Iscariot. As I have stated before directly to Frank Bainimarama in one of our pre elections radio debates, he is the Judas Iscariot of the itauki community. His actions since that time confirm to me that he still is.
He has sold his people down the drain in exchange for the many pieces of silver he enjoys today to the long term detriment of his own community and our people as a whole, and far from being remembered for delivering his people out of the wilderness, history will remember Frank Bainimarama for the ‘Cultural Autonomy’ blue print of Ayes Khaiyum’s that he adopted and helped facilitate and implement in the exploitation, marginalization and dispossession of the Indigenous Fijian.
UNDRIP does not apply to FIJI
FB: Accordingly, the rationale behind the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People does not readily apply to Fiji in the way that it does to those nations whose indigenous citizens have been and continue to be exploited, marginalized and dispossessed. This is simply not the case in Fiji, which makes the Fijian indigenous experience rare if not unique.
RTK: The only thing unique about this remark is that it puts in plain perspective his total lack of foresight or understanding about UNDRIP.
If only he paid attention at school, he would have learnt enough basic history to know that every indigenous population on the planet was once one the majority community in their homeland, just as we are today.
But over the years and through settlement of other communities, many of these indigenous communities diminished to the point where today they are the marginalized and minority in their own land. This is not the case in Fiji, however, as the Indigenous Fijians still comprise the majority.
However, the very policies and plans of the Bainimarama- Khaiyum Government is aimed at removing the traditions and culture of our people and our very own exploitation, marginalization and dispossession as the indigenous people is underway and this has come about because of the actions of our communities Judas Iscariot - Frank Bainimarama.
Colonial Governments were racist
FB: In our colonial past, Fiji was divided firmly along racial lines. Based on ethnicity, children were educated at separate schools and governments were chosen under an electoral system that was racially weighted in favor of indigenous Fijians.
RTK: There were many things about our Colonial past that were wrong just as there were many things that were right. I’m not sure that there is historically a ‘perfect’ nation on this planet where everything right or perfect was achieved.
We can’t do much about our past, but we certainly have the opportunity to make good our future, provided of course that the Government of the day has the political will and the interests of our people ‘genuinely’ at heart.
Regardless of the shortcomings of our Colonial past, nothing that occurred justifies the armed intervention and the removal of elected Governments that we experienced in 1987, 2000, 2006 and 2009.
I add 2009 because Frank Bainimarama carried out 2 coups, he did the 2006 one and then when hid regime was declared illegal by the Court of Appeal in April 2009, he abrogated the constitution so technically he did 2 coups. What stands out in the 2009 coup is that he even used the late Tui Vuda to sign the ‘abrogation of the Constitution’ so he could not be blamed.
Coups are not and never will be the ‘solution’ to our past wrongs. Coups compromise and diminish the Independence and Trust we have in our System of Justice, they destroy the lives and aspirations of many thousands of our citizens and they reverse our economic growth back 10 years each time they happen. Coups only serve the interests of the self absorbed, unprincipled and corrupt elite who gain not through competition and fair trade, but through favors and advantage at the expense of all others.
Our national unity and pride is permanently damaged and many feel disenfranchised.
It is all very well for Frank Bainimarama to now say the system in the past was weighed in favor of the indigenous Fijians, I don’t doubt that it was, but the previous policies of ‘affirmative action’ were an attempt to try and help bridge the economic gap between the itauki and other communities’ No doubt some feel they were wrong and others think otherwise.
I say it is only through dialogue, discussions and ensuring the freedom to speak and criticize the policies of government and any other institution that we will eventually get ‘all sides’ to the argument and those in authority can then make appropriate changes so that policies reflect the wishes of the people.
Frank Bainimarama’s own personal story about his accelerated rise in the ranks of the Navy and the Military, bypassing and overtaking more capable and better qualified officers, may well have been because of one of those ‘unfair’ advantages for Indigenous Fijians of which he speaks.
Even after Independence, Fiji was a racist Country
FB: So this was the legacy we were left with by our colonizer at Independence. And unfortunately, even after Independence, certain elites exploited these divisions for their own purposes. And this produced decades of instability, including three coups led by ethno-nationalists – two in 1987 and one in 2000 – that tore our nation apart.
Tens of thousands of our citizens lost faith in Fiji and fled. We lost some of our best and brightest people. And our overall national development was retarded as we remained locked in a mindset of prejudice and distrust.
RTK: I have to hand it to the QORVIS spin doctors, not only have they got Frank Bainimarama to condemn the coups of 1987 and 2000, they are starting the media push to remove the Bainimarama Coup of 2006 like it never happened.
From Independence in 1970 we experienced 17 years of growth and stability in Fiji and contrary to Frank’s claims of instability and exploitation. Even Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her visit to Fiji in 1981 was touched by the friendliness of our people. She encouraged our Indian community to make Fiji their home. She referred to it as ‘Little India’
In 1986 Pope John Paul II said during his visit to Fiji that ‘Fiji was the way the world should be’
These visits by two of the World’s great leaders was during the same time in our history that Frank Bainimarama and Ayes Khaiyum now paint as a bleak, racist part of our history they want us all to forget, to justify their acts of treason in 2006 and 2009.
The fact that we are a multi cultural, multi ethnic, multi religious society is what makes us a unique people in this part of the world. Our ethnicity or racial origins are a fact of life that none of us can do much about. It is who we are and those who have issues with this fact should seek counseling.
As a multi cultural society, we will always be susceptible to the manipulation and mean spirited intentions of the few in the advancement of their own agendas, whatever that may be.
However, I have enough faith in the good nature and compassion of our people, that the promoters of racial discord, will always be in the minority and while they will pop up from time to time, we have the good sense to see through it and put them in their place.
SDL is a ethno-nationalist government and a Coup to bring about JUSTICE EQUALITY FAIRNESS and TRANQUILITY for FIJI
FB: In 2006 – as Commander of the Military – I assumed control of Fiji and removed an ethno-nationalist government that had embarked on a campaign to marginalize our minorities and our underprivileged even further. Unlike previous takeovers, ours was to assert the principle of equality in our nation once and for all. And to assert the human rights of every citizen, irrespective of ethnicity, religious affiliation, personal circumstance including socio-economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
RTK The intuition he led since 2000 is a perfect example of the rhetoric of equality, human rights and ethnicity that he espouses to the world but fails to practice at home. The Military remains a racially unbalanced institution and despite the 8 years in which he had to correct the racial imbalance and other rights of all citizens, nothing has changed.
He never assumed control; he planned and executed an act of treason. And treason will remain treason regardless of how much effort he and QORVIS put into camouflaging the reality and perpetuating their lies.
Like the SDL before it SODELPA enjoys the confidence of its supporters. And may I remind Frank that it was under the SDL government that ‘due process’ was allowed to proceed against George Speight & Co.
The 2006 coup was nothing more than a move to avoid arrest for sedition and what could likely lead to be a jail term. The 2000 coup which occurred while he was Commander did have military backing and the Jury is still out on extent of his involvement. But the fact remains between 2000 and the 2006 coups, approximately 19 citizens were killed and most if not all of their families have not been compensated nor have they received any justice or closure.
As long as one family is denied justice, we all will be denied Justice. As long as Chapter 10 remains in the 2013 Constitution and he and his co-conspirators hide behind its immunity provisions, there can be no equality in Fiji.
And so long as his government persists with its unfair and deliberate plan for the exploitation, marginalization and dispossession of our indigenous people, there will be no fairness in Fiji and with the absence of Justice, Equality and Fairness, there can be no tranquility in Fiji
2006 WAS YEAR ZERO FOR FIJI
FB: We drew a line under the past. We reset the national compass. We declared Year Zero to finally begin building a modern nation state in which the universal principles of true democracy and human rights are enshrined, in law and practiced in our national life.
RTK So now he wants to erase 2006 as if it never happened? Seriously? Even a multinational company like QORVIS must know that this is a little farfetched. But they had to try and more importantly they needed someone silly enough to suggest it.
It is incredible that having poured scorn and ridicule on the shortcomings of our Colonial and post Independence past, the Prime Minister makes a 180 degree turn and attempts to rewrite the savagery, cruelty, corrupt and abusive actions of his Command and Regime and depict it as a necessary action for Fiji.
I’m sorry, Frank, we will never erase from our minds that you willingly committed treason and you presided over a period of time since 2000 in which some 19 citizens of Fiji lost their lives, and you abused, threatened and intimidated the people the whole time, and all this is because you either are afraid or unwilling to face up to accept responsibility for your actions.
It was not 8 years of Dictatorship; it was 8 years of Political, legal, and economic reformation!!
FB: After eight years of comprehensive political, legal, and economic reforms, we returned Fiji to parliamentary rule last September in an election whose credibility was endorsed by an observer force made up of a multitude of nations, and co-led by India, Indonesia and Australia.
This peaceful and orderly transition has been a national triumph and one of great credit to the Fijian people. We can now put the past behind us. We can now finally fulfill our promise as a nation. And we can guarantee the human rights of every Fijian, no matter who they are or where they come from.
RTK: Once again the spin doctors QORVIS weave their lasulasu to try and create a semblance of legitimacy that
was absent from 2006 till 2014 as a result of the Bainimarama coup. The past 8 years have seen the militarization of government and most other Institutions, media freedom remains compromised and at least 60% of the population remain intimidated and are still afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions.
This is not the outcome that reflects political, legal or economic reform, this is the result of a repressive dictatorship pure and simple and it will remain so for eternity so QORVIS, Frank Bainimarama and Ayes Khaiyum better to get used to it.
For the first time education is free and I gave it to the Fijians
FB: For the first time, Fiji is providing our young people with free primary and secondary schooling, along with scholarships and student loans for any Fijian who gains a place at tertiary level. At the same time, we are developing a network of Government Telecentres across Fiji to give our people access to the Internet and other benefits of the Digital Age.
RTK: Finally at least there’s one thing I’ll give Frank credit for and that is the Telecentres. This is a good project and I would encourage its continuance.
However to try and claim the honor of introducing free Education to Fiji which was started and improved upon by at least 3 previous governments, including the SDL in which I was the Minister for Education, is again a desperate attempt at self glorification.
I have given Fiji the biggest Human Right of All
FB: Because, Mr. President, Fiji has delivered the biggest human right of all – the right to equality, human dignity and justice for every citizen.
RTK: The biggest Human Rights of all, is the level of abuse under Frank Bainimarama. This is hardly something to be gloating about on the international stage, especially when he knows full well he has been personally involved in some abuse cases and ordered many others. As far as equally rights is concerned, again, his immunity from prosecution for crimes he committed in 2006 and 2009 removes any level of equality and until he and his co-conspirators account for their crimes how in heaven’s name can he say there is justice for every citizen.
One thing that puzzles me is that Frank and Khaiyum go around talking their heads off about Human Rights, Human Dignity, Justice and freedom for every citizen. They claim to have won the popular vote fairly? But if that were true why would they still feel the need for all those body guards? Who are they protecting themselves from? After all they have given Fijians everything, free bus fares, free milk [yet to be delivered] Free text books [yet to be delivered], free water and free electricity. Who are they afraid of?
The WORLD is unequal, you should be like Fiji
FB: In a world driven by inequality, injustice and division, Fiji can hold its head high for what we have accomplished in such a short period of time, especially after decades of injustice and dysfunction. And it is against this background that I ask the global community to consider the merits of what we have achieved.
RTK: The only thing we have accomplished at this time is a Pacific region record for being the front runner as coup-coup land. The real dysfunctional part of our coup-coup history is the fact that we reward and protect and pay our wrong doers handsomely and punish and abuse anyone who says otherwise.
The other dysfunctional matter that we have accomplished since 1987 is a situation where the so called ‘principled’ members of our society, have become more selective with the application of their principles so that the status quos remains and the silence in the face of Human Rights abuses becomes acceptable.
Any country that takes such a misleading and untrue a comment as this seriously should be ashamed of themselves.
Fiji hates TORTURE
FB: The Fijian Constitution already says that every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment. We will soon formally ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture or UNCAT. It is currently with the relevant parliamentary committee for scrutiny. In the hearings before our Parliament, the Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Police have both publically committed themselves to the implementation of UNCAT.
RTK: The rhetoric and the lies continue. The fact that our two disciplined institutions say they support UNCAT does not absolve them from their part in the numerous Human Rights abuses and torture in recent times.
Frank Bainimarama himself is a known abuser.
Ratifying the Convention is one thing, implementing it to the letter is quite another.
FB: By far the biggest of these – for a Small Island Developing Country such as Fiji – is the collective failure of the global community to address the negative consequences of climate change. The repeated failure of the industrialized nations to curb their carbon emissions is a direct threat to the human rights of people living in vulnerable small island States like Fiji, including the right to life. The very existence of some of our neighbors is threatened.
Fiji is pleased to see that this issue has been given prominence by the Human Rights Council, with a whole day dedicated to the issue later in the week. I urge you all to take concrete steps to place the human rights impact of climate change at the centre of your deliberations. Because time is running out and the world needs to act urgently and decisively.
Fiji – along with other of its Pacific neighbors – is also urging the Council to consider the human rights position of refugees seeking asylum in our larger neighbors, but who have been rebuffed and resettled among Pacific peoples.
The impact of the policy of operating refugee camps in Small Pacific Island Countries on local people – as well as the refugees themselves – deserves the closest scrutiny if the United Nations conventions have any relevance or significance at all.
RTK: The QORVIS rebranding of Dictator Frank as the savior of the small Island nations using climate change as the vehicle is underway.
Climate change is important for all of us and it is a matter to be taken seriously because of its impact on humanity, but to use it as an image building exercise is disgraceful, but what do you expect from a glory seeking leader.
Ro Teimumu Kepa
March 5th 2015