Fijileaks: HOPE is already resembling Baba's New Labour Party; Draunidalo's views put her firmly in SODELPA camp - she has betrayed NFP with no plan or hope for Fiji; how can one place faith in a political opportunist who knew damn well that the one person FijiFirst has always regarded as an electoral threat was NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad. By defecting and shamelessly agreeing to lead HOPE she wants to wreck Prasad's political career and deny Fiji a possible Indo-Fijian Prime Minister, and wants HOPE to portray NFP as a party lacking ethnic diversity - "a kai India" party. What hope is Draunidalo offering anyone apart from what we got from her when she sat in the Parliament? Ponderous, colourless interventions and a stream of empty platitudes. Followed by suspension after she lifted the lid on the simmering racism that lurks below her carefully crafted public persona of a colour-blind progressive. The anti-Muslim bashing of Aiyaz Khaiyum has been extended to undermining Professor Biman Prasad. Anyway, combined with the political poison of the racist and nationalist Sitiveni Rabuka as Sodelpa leader, Fijileaks think FijiFirst has been handed yet another gift with this defection. Because Draunidalo will be seen as a wrecker with no plan and hope - a bad dose despite Beddoes trying to wrap her in a political wool as the best HOPE could get as new party leader
ROKO TUPOU DRAUNIDALO – THE LEADER FOR OUR TIME
When you consider the line-up for top leadership in Fiji today, the pickings are thin. Ro Teimumu, admired by many, has announced she won’t be contesting the next general election. So it’s not hard to see why, almost by default, many may still tick Bainimarama.
But that will soon change. Roko Tupou Draunidalo has agreed to accept leadership of the proposed HOPE party. By agreeing to accept the proposed party’s request to be its leader, Roko Tupou presents Bainimarama with a new political challenge.
Roko Tupou is strong, fearless, smart and compassionate. She is a skilled lawyer, understands the parliamentary system and how democracy works. Bainimarama has only a very foggy idea of these things.
Above all, Roko Tupou is not afraid to speak truth to power. In this case the power is of the ruthless and authoritarian kind passed down from a military dictatorship. Roko Tupou knows to her cost what it means to take on Frank and his team of fearful sycophants. But that has not deterred her one bit. She is determined and focused and will be right in Frank’s face if she has to be. But with a smile, I suspect.
Some would say she has a steep hill ahead when the proposed HOPE Party is not yet registered. An almost impossible climb maybe?
Take into account that the Fiji First regime has entrenched itself in every facet of governance in Fiji and that its handout program, commonly known as ‘vote buying’, is already underway. The Opposition have done little to consolidate their position over the past 2 ½ years, mostly because of internal disloyalty, friction and indecisive leadership; assaults by Fiji First on the democratic apparatus of parliament.
Media freedom is compromised; military officers hold the office of President, Prime Minister, Military Commander, Commissioner of Police and Commissioner of Corrections Services. The list goes on. Frank and his colleagues control Parliament and have their key people as heads of many statutory authorities and organizations. Political parties have no confidence in the Election Supervisor who is said be a relative of Elections Minister Khaiyum (I await a confirmation or denial from him which I will be happy to print).
The big corporate donors to the Fiji First campaign funds in 2014, having been rewarded with big contracts, are keen for the ‘cash to keep flowing’. I believe they have already started paying out big bucks to ensure their Government gets in again for the next four years. A couple of them took the money meant for cyclone victims, but failed to deliver the goods.
And as if all this were not bad enough, the fear factor among citizens remains ‘high’ and with good reason. The threat of another coup if FF loses is already being circulated.
Roko Tupou on a mission impossible? Yes and no! In the end we are the ones who have a choice to make.
We can succumb to the might of the Kai-Bai regime, throw our hands up and say ‘GIVE UP, forfeit our principles and moral integrity and join the usurpers of our democracy.
Next we have to start turning a blind eye whenever there is human rights abuses or an act of revenge or the persecution of someone who dared to push back.
Finally we start to accept nepotism, cronyism, favoritism and conflicts of interest as the new moral standard, and agree with everything they say and let them do as they wish with Fiji and our future.
Or, we can put a bit of steel into our spines, stand up and be counted and, with all the other law abiding citizens of this country, ‘push back’ and regardless of the odds do all that we can to win over all those Fiji First voters of 2014 who have since realized the error of their decision and increase our support base generally.
We must put the truth and the facts before the nation and encourage them to hold fast and not abandon what is right and just. We must maintain our respect for the rule of law and do what is required to bring to account all those in power who have breached our laws, regardless of their station or status, so that like all of us, they too must pay the price for the decisions they made.
Roko Tupou is up for this fight. We say the battle can be won, the question is, are you ready to help her win it!