The RFMF's 100 page submission to the Constitution Review Commission.
Fijileaks offers a five-minute guide to exactly what the submission says about key issues
RESERVED SEATS FOR RFMF
To allay any fears or concerns regarding RFMF having reserved seats in parliament, the RFMF calls for no such allocation or provisions. The RFMF will not have and does not call for any special positions in Parliament. However, the RFMF will monitor the ongoing situation in the Parliament and in Fiji ensuring that whhat it had adopted since 2006 and through the People’s Charter is fully implemented
We submit that the new constitution should reflect the responsibility given to the Forces through Section 94(3) of the 1990 Constitution and fully recognized through Section 112(1) of the 1997 Constitution
The RFMF will not allow any individual, group and organizations or another State to sabotage the efforts of 2006. This new course will continue. The RFMF will ensure it continues, not only to 2014 but beyond.The role of the military cannot be restrictive. RFMF should not be judged solely for 1987, 2000 or 2006.
The RFMF submits that the Preamble of our Constitution should be drawn from the spirit of common good, shared values, vision and principles expounded by the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
We believe that our new blend of Government System – which we would like to call the New Presidential System will model well for Fiji.We are recommending that the new Government should be structured as follows:
The appointment of the President is to be ceremonial We submit that the stated Roles of President, inclusive of his Powers and duties should be presented in the new Constitution. Enjoys full judicial immunity i.e no criminal proceedings can be initiated against him/her during his/her term in office.
The president cannot be summoned or asked to answer for the exercise of his/her duties.
ENDORSEMENT OF NON-NEGOTIABLE
The RFMF fully endorses the non-negotiable Principles
ABOLISHMENT OF SENATE
We submit that the Senate be abolished.Its oversight role is to be assigned to the Opposition Party within Government.
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
We submit that there is no requirement for any office of the Vice President. In the absence of the President for any cause, we submit that the Chief Justice acts as the President and functions accordingly. We again would like to reiterate that the position is Ceremonial and should be treated accordingly. It must not be given undue significance or prominence that is unwarranted.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE
We submit that the past numbers of members in the House of Representative were over inflated and unnecessary. With the one vote, one value proposition, we submit that the Fiji House of Representative should comprise of no more than 46 seats
TENURE OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
We submit the tenure of the House of Representative should be 5 years.we submit the tenure of the House of Representative should be 5 years We also submit that once any seat becomes vacant for want of cause, the said seat should be filled within 3 months from the time it becomes vacant.
We submit that the Cabinet should equate to portfolios and not a percentage of the total Parliament. We submit that there should only be 12 Cabinet seats. The 12 Cabinet Ministers should share the 24 Government Ministries as deemed appropriate.
Nominees to Cabinet
We submit, having due regards to the democratic spirit being advocated, that the following positions be filled from outside Parliament through appointment by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister:
i. Attorney General;
ii. Minister of Finance; and
iii. The Speaker.
Like the Attorney General, we submit that the Minister of Finance and the Speaker of the House be appointed by the President on the Advice of the Prime Minister outside of Parliament.
ABOLISHMENT OF THE GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS
(Bose Levu Vakaturaga)
We submit that the Council of Chiefs in our recommendation now rests with the people of Fiji or through our representative in Parliament, the existence of such a body is no longer required.
REMUNERATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE
We recommend that Members of the House of Representative should be well remunerated. In turn, we firmly believe, we will have persons of high caliber vying for Parliament.
CODE OF CONDUCT
We submit that a comprehensive Code of Conduct be implemented. The Code of Conduct must apply to the Office of the President, Members of Parliament, all Office established under our Constitution, Commission and Permanent Secretaries
With a concept of secularism, Fiji should remain impartial on matters of religion. All citizens are to be treated equally regardless of religion. No one religion is to be given preferential treatment to others. We submit that Fiji should become a secular state.
REDUCTION OF VOTING AGE FROM 21 TO 18 YEARS OF AGE
We submit that our youths of 18 years should be allowed to vote in the next election.
The RFMF submits that the list system proposed through the National Council for Building A Better Fiji may be the ideal electoral system for Fiji. The List System, in our opinion will be an ideal system to replace the Alternative Vote System – which has given all in Fiji nightmares.
To assist the electoral process, we are recommending that there be four constituencies. These would assist the administration of the process and at the same time provide a more accountable and transparent system. The four constituencies are derived from the current Provincial boundaries of the Central, Eastern, Western and Northern Divisions.
If the Non-Government Organisation Groups are to operate, they have to be transparent in the practices and funding. As such, we submit that all Non- Government Organisation Groups are: a. to present annual audit accounts to Government; b. to disclose all funding in any form to Government; and c. Discloses any additional assets to the organisation.. Any Non-Government Organisation Group who fails to adhere to the requirement is to be de-registered.
BILL OF RIGHTS
The Bill of Rights provided in the 1997 Constitution was consistent with the Provisions of the International Conventions in particular the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
We submit that the following provisional rights be restated in our new constitution (not included here - SEE FULL SUBMISSION)
We submit that the provision of the Prescribed Political Events Decree 2010 be adopted in our constitution with an entrenched provision for modification or repeal.
We also submit that the Prescribed Political Events period should include the period until the formation of the new government. Under our new constitution we submit that the Limitation of Liability Decree 2010, para 2, under definition “prescribed political events” should include a new paragraph which should read as follows:
“all related acts or omission by the prescribed persons in any form leading to the formation of a new constitution and election”.
As the last bastion of law and order, we are mandated to Act. If we don’t Act, we are failing in our duty which we were entrusted to uphold. At such crossroads, we do not want servicepersons to be thinking of the legal implications. The “what if’s” are detrimental to our operations. We want them to have a satisfaction of mind that they have adequate legal cover to protect them. We cannot leave such considerations to chance.
If immunity is not granted, future operations will be affected as there will be questions raised regarding legal implication. We cannot leave this issue to chance and hope all will be good and resolved within its own time.
263. The servicepersons deserve to be absolved from legal implications for the acts done from 2000 until the formation of a new government.
The future of Decrees
We submit that the new constitution must recognise all the Promulgations and Decrees that have been brought about since December 2006. In addition, there should be an entrenching provision ensuring that the said Promulgations and Decrees are not revoked or challenged in any competent court of law.
RFMF's Brave New Dawn
For the RFMF we have taken a “road not taken” in the past. Our adaptation has resulted in a lot of difficulties and sacrifice, from us and the people of Fiji. Such commitments and sacrifice has not been in vain. It has been recognised and now shows signs of prosperity. We have been collectively marginalised, sanctioned and “kicked in the gut” one too many times. We have been quite resilient the manner in which we have coped with adversities thrown at us. We will survive and so will Fiji – as we dawn a new era.