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Rotten Fijian of the Day - Mahendra Chaudhry Wednesday, January 31, 2007 |

Mahendra Pal Chaudhry

Corrupt Necessity (Part 1) Tuesday, January 30, 2007 |

This latest coup has quite cleverly been labeled as a “clean-up campaign” by the criminals who committed it. According to them, it is a clean up campaign to rid Fiji of corruption. I can only imagine what such noble cause will lead to. For many, this is nothing about ridding any corruption, but simply another coup. A coup much the same as those committed in the past and one that will lead to future ones.

Few days ago I had conversation with a colleague, agreeing with the premise that corruption can be cultural. Ours is a society with two large and distinct cultures. The Fiji Indians (Indians) and the Indigenous Fijians (Fijians). Although what I will be writing from this point forward may sound simplistic and one without research backing, I believe it is central to our failings since independence.

The Fijians have what is commonly called a “kerekere” culture. A culture where borrowing and giving from and to friends and family is a norm. This maybe cultural to the Melanesians as it is similar to the “won tok” system of the Papua New Guineans.

The Indians are considered money minded and selfish. They will usually do anything to make a buck. They are usually independent and quite opposite to the Fijians in that sharing (“kerekere”) is something they will avoid at all costs.

Both cultures above live side by side, but live very distinct lives. Lives governed by completely different cultural values. It is a generally held belief that whereas Indians are very cunning and guile, the Fijians are naïve and gullible. This leads to automatic conclusion that Indians will with their guile use the system to their advantage leaving the Fijians behind and at times exploited. This was what gave rise to the first coup in 1987. The Rabuka led illegal act decided to usurp the political power all for the Fijians. Rabuka sought to right a lot of wrongs in the society. He sought to eliminate the perceived dominance of the Indians.

The elections in 1987 brought into power the Labour Party which was seen to be dominated by Indians. Even though the Prime Minister was Dr. Timoci Bavadra, the man in charge of the government purse was non other then the current man in charge, Mahendra Chaudhry. With dominance of Indians in the commercial sector, another Indian in control of the treasury was perhaps unpalatable to Nationalist Indigenous leaders.

Political Power vs. Business

After the 1987 elections, the Indians were seen as the dominant group in control of all aspects of the country. The Fijian leadership saw this situation as grave and knew very well, of the difficulties they will have in catching up to the Indians. They knew could not easily and quickly catch to the Indian commercial dominance. The one area that could rival the Indians in was the political power. The populous was neatly divided between half Indians and half Fijians. If the Fijians took control over the running of the nation, they could help themselves achieve success in business.

So started the series of coups to right the wrongs as seen by the Indigenous Fijians. Rabuka cemented his leadership for over 10 years. In his pursuit to balance the power he abrogated the constitution and commissioned a new one. His regime oversaw the imposition of “affirmative action” in favour of the Fijians at the expense of Indians. During this period, the National Bank of Fiji collapsed amidst allegations of corruption and the economy remained a slow growing one. The period saw the rise of a new group of elite Fijians. The civil service saw imbalance grow in favour of the Fijians. Indians were marginalised further and further with less and less opportunities.

Regardless of the elections between 1987 and 1999, the constitution remained biased and the government remained in the hands of the SVT (an elitist Fijian party). Without an effective opposition and through civil service control, the Rabuka regime ruled without proper checks and balances giving rise to a new level of corruption.

With a new constitution in place in 1999, the elections were won by the Fiji Labour Party headed by Mahendra Chaudhry. The party’s win was a democratic one and finally, for a moment it appeared that Fiji was heading in the right direction.

But the lack of success by the Fijians in the previous 10 years brought to surface the fears of Indian dominance once again. The Fiji Labour Party though, without paying due attention to such fears, powered ahead putting in place a range reform measures. Measures which weren’t well explained allowed the Nationalistic Fijian leadership to use and amplify the fears of the Fijian people.

This lead to the May 2000 coup which allowed the Fijian Nationalism to take control of the government once again. The nationalism was in the guise of SDL (a new Fijian elitist party) and Laisenia Qarase. With the SDL government in power another round of the Rabuka period was revived. Corruption continued unabated with scant regard paid to the issue by Qarase government.

The divide between the Indians and Fijians meanwhile continued with Indians becoming increasingly marginalised. Since 1987, the Indian population has decreased via migration from a majority to about 40% (my guess – the new census will perhaps confirm this). Indians have also it appeared, had given up any hope of political balance in the country.

This brings us to the current situation.

In part two, I will discuss the political history as I’ve seen it since 1987 and will attempt to tie the relationship between our cultures and corruption.

Rotten Fijian of the Day - Frank Bainimarama Monday, January 29, 2007 |

And today's rotten Fijian of the day is... Frank Bainimarama. Well done Frank.



Fear Tactics Friday, January 26, 2007 |

Angie Heffernan, dared to call a spade a spade and now she is paying the price for it. Richard Naidu called it as he saw it, at least from the legal from the perspective and he has been intimidated. Only time will tell whether he will be speaking his legal mind publicly again. Many others who dared to speak have been silenced. Amongst them Laisa Digitaki, Attar Singh, and Jaganath Sami.

People though are still not waking up to the reality of the new order. An order or fear. An order of abuse and one based on gun power. Some still publicly support the military despite the abuses attributed to them. Infact many seem to question the absence of the same individuals during the events of May 2000. How short sighted and vengeful.

Little do they realise that the events of the past have had totally different dimensions. Such human rights abuse by an institution as powerful as the Military didn’t occur then. Any such events back then were at best, isolated actions of a few and nothing more then criminal acts. The current situation is a contrived and concerted effort by the people in power (and yes I am referring to the so called interim administration) to consolidate their illegal rule by silencing the right thinking individuals of the society. The means are justified under the so called emergency decree. What nonsense!

Some such as Rick Rickman who is regular writer in the Fiji Times letters to the editor, seem to push the focus elsewhere by usually blaming our neighbours for our problems. These individuals seem to think that Australia and New Zealand somehow are responsible for our coup. I fail to understand how their actions in support of democracy can be criticised. They have a right to deal with any nation as they please. Democracy is what is dear to them and the destruction of a democracy surely saddens them as much as it should to any right thinking person. What must be appreciated at least, is the fact, that they at least don’t run their countries with fear.

Our current illegal PM’s mindset says it all. He is happy to deal with countries that have equally bad human rights records. Chief amongst them is China. Infact the last letter by Rick Rickman in the Fiji Times of 25th January, he describes the China as a state which “…is not a democracy, does not have freedom of speech and a free press and does have a great many political prisoners.” I can see that happening in Fiji, if the present situation and the band of criminals continue to keep this country hostage.

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Political Correctness and Correct Politics Thursday, January 25, 2007 |

Richard Naidu, the well known lawyer who is always willing to risk speaking about the political situation in the country was finally taken in by the bullies. Let’s hope it doesn’t shut him up like it has done to others who were detained by the military. (Easy for me to say, as I write this in anonymity).

But what Richard was talking about goes to heart of the problem in the current political state of the country. He has questioned the legality and rightness of Ratu Iloilo’s position as the president. He has labeled the current presidency as a Military President, as he was appointed by the military following the coup. It’s obviously true however you look at it. Call it a “clean-up campaign” or a military coup, whatever happened on December 5th was not right under the constitution nor in the minds of the majority.

Many in Fiji have somehow gone ahead to accept Ratu Iloilo as the legitimate president of the country. It however remains a fact that he was not elected by the right authorities, therefore his tenure in that position is questionable.

A lot of people in Fiji also have gone on to accept the position maintained by the military that the constitution was not abrogated. It maybe true, but the appointment under the current constitution did not follow proper procedures. For that matter much of what has gone on since December 5th and even after the swearing in the so called interim government, has been extra-constitutional. For instance the the state of emergency decree, the firing of senior civil servants and the detention of members of the public by the military. What constitutional basis does it have? There was nothing in the country prior to December 5th that warranted an unconstitutional removal of an elected government. Whatever happened was plain and simple illegal.

All those in the current so called interim government have been elected someone who has authority only through the barrel of the gun. With the power of the gun, anything can be made to look legal. It does not make it right however.

I can’t finish this post by quoting a hollow statement which shows the indifference of the current regime to the opinions of the learned and right thinking citizens of the country. This is what the current illegal Attorney General had to say in response to Richard Naidu’s comments: “…I can advise people to treat those sorts of comments with a pinch of salt.”

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The coup continues and people continue to voice their opinions Tuesday, January 23, 2007 |

Military Threats

The Military Coup continues and so does the army’s intimidation of the citizens of the country. What a bunch of bullies! Major Leweni threatened to bully the innocents once again. Infact, his statements is directed at keeping the human rights abuses silent and prevent word of it getting out. This is what he is quoted as saying;

''Last, but not least, those individuals who have been blowing this matter out of proportion, should be mindful of the fact that the State of Emergency is in force and they will be dealt with accordingly.''

Immunity Decree

The immunity decree covers the military including officers and members of the military, all military reserves, all members of the police force, all members and officers of the prison service and all other persons who acted under the direction of those mentioned.

What a farce. If the current regime don’t think they’ve done wrong, then why the need for amnesty? Absolutely hippocritical considering the demands Bainimarama made against the Qarase government, one of which was to drop the reconciliation bill.

In Chile, not too long ago, an immunity decree was overturned against the now dead former dictator Augusto Pinochet. Following which he was prosecuted. Of course he died mid-way through the trial, but his death was celebrated majority of the Chileans.

Whilst it make take time for us to bring our own Pinochet’s to courts, I am sure it will happen.

Letters to Editor

Yesterday I wrote about “Stupid Indians”. Later I read some of the letters to editor in the Fij Times and I was compelled to respond and comment on some of them. First was one by Jope Turagaiviu from Nabua. He wrote about the British Army personell of Fijian extraction. What caught my attention was:

“I would also like to tell her that if it wasn't for the reputation of the RFMF, present British Army personnel would be jobless here in Fiji.

It is not fair to belittle an institution that has brought fame to the country. ”

Absolutely laughable! An institution that has brought fame to this country? I can assure you that after all good this institution may have done as peacekeepers for people in war torn countries, it has brought nothing but shame for this country in the last couple of decades. Whilst it may have kept peace and helped defend human rights in those countries, it has done the exact opposite here. When an institution does wrong, it deserves belittling and nothing less!

Then there is Rick Rickman. This person has been writing a lot against Australians and New Zealanders in the recent past. He in his latest letter compares Fiji with it’s larger neighbours as “David and Goliath”.

After all his rant, he writes: “We are a sovereign nation and should be treated as such.”

Of course we’re a soverign nation. It is stating the obvious. But stating the obvious does not automatically mean that we should be treated as if nothing happened. How exactly should we be treated by the Aussies and Kiwis? Should our current illegal government be welcomed with open arms? What does it say for democracy?

He goes on to write this little gem (my highlights): “Let us stop buying New Zealand and Australian products, take pride in Fiji, buy homegrown and home-made products wherever possible. We may be small but we are not soft. We can win this battle.”

What battle? How will boycotting Australian and New Zealand goods bring democracy back to our country?

All I have to say for Rick is for him to wake up and smell the coffee. Yes, perhaps there indeed is more crime in the cities of our neighbours, but at they do have a military which respects the rule of law. They have a government which does not abuse human rights of it’s citizens and they are far more prosperous for it.

Then there is one James Bolavucu from UK. A guy who writes with great sensibility. How I wish there were more people like him in this country. This is what he wrote yesterday:

Presidential credibility

The President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo has been signing decrees left and right, legalising what was obviously illegal and inthe processbringing disrepute tohis high office.

With due respect to his chiefly status, everytime he signs a declaration or decreehe is jeopardising his credibility.

He should do the right thing andfollow the Vice-President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, and resign gracefullyfrom his position for he is an honourable chief. He would become the hero if he does so. The reasoning that he will resurrect the country no longer applies. Let the present regimepush their own agenda.”

Ian Simpson is obviously someone with great contempt for the freedoms of the peoples of United States. He quickly overturns a letter from a writer from the US in which she mentioned how she enjoys the Freedom of Speech. His ‘cheap shot” reply quickly deviates to belittle another right the US citizens enjoy; the right to bear arms. In doing so, he has quickly justified the brutality of the army. Come on Ian, perhaps you might try a pinch of smelling salt yourself first.

Beware... a new set of losers are in control Monday, January 22, 2007 |

As days pass in that most Rotten of the States, things are starting to stink even worse. We've had the half dead, in people such as Chaudhry, Bune and Vyeshnoi try their hands in taking the country forward in the past and they didn't succeed. Mostly because they were unseated, unceremoniously in the May 2000 coup. Victims as we called them. They were perhaps on the right track then, but now it seems they're back from the dead for sure. As dead as a Dodo.

A new set of zombies in control, joined by some such as Ms. Ganilau and Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum. A bunch people who seem to be hell bent on making the most from this most wrong of situations. They dance to the tune of the Military(, even helping them create some new tunes). An organisation with no track record of having done anything positive for the nation. A leader who is starting appear more evil as days pass. Perhaps only time will tell on how evil he will have become, but for goodness sake I hope it stops before he overtakes the likes of Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini or more recently, Saddam.

All those involved in the current rape of democracy in the country, have now conveniently given immunity to themselves. I am not a religious person, but for once, "I hope they all rot in hell".

Shrewed Double Standards
We've had shrewed lawyers as Attorney Generals and the most recent legitimate one was Mr. Qoroniase Bale. He with all his legal training and experience "justifiably" was moving the Fijian Nationalist cause forward. Now we have another, albeit younger less experienced Mr. Khaiyum. He has now become the chief protagonist in Bainimarama's coup.

In a recent news article in Fiji Times (http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=55549) he has questioned the Fiji Law Society's suspension of military lawyers, yet continues to say little about the human rights abuses and manner in which the Jaganath Sami the CEO of Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council has been treated by the Military. Him and his illegal government continue to play both judge and jury on all matters and people they seem not to like.

In terms of Mr. Sami, I fail to understand how Mr. Khaiyum has swiftly justified his removal from the office by the military, a day after the a Lautoka court reinstated him. Mr. Khaiyum is doing nothing but legally maneuvering the current regime's illegal activities. A legal word wanker is the best way I can describe him.

Stupid Indians
One of the most baffling things about this coup, is the apparent support of the Indians towards Bainimarama and Chaudhry. I talk to a lot of them and it appears that they'll seem to thinking with their hearts and not their heads.

They've obviously never like Qarase's government and have all too happilly greeted his illegal removal. They've so quickly decided that somehow Bainimarama's on their side and therefore good for the country.

Pretty stupid rationale, and one that could only come from a bunch who are both naive and stupid. Two wrongs don't make a right and it's something a lot of them seem unable to grasp. A revengeful mob I fear.

The madness continues... Tuesday, January 09, 2007 |

The mad dictator, Frank Bainimarama has now become the Prime Minister of Fiji! What more, he managed to grab a whole bunch of equally mad bunch (http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54916) into his government.

Chief amongst the mad bunch is Mahendra Chaudhry. This is the guy who has been through 3 coups throughout his political career. This guy almost won the last election, so has a large following in this country. I've spent a lot of my time defending this guy and saying good things about him. I've felt sorry for this guy, for I've always thought of him as one of the unluckiest leaders in this country. He for me is the biggest disappointment. I mean the whole thing about this interim government reeks of a coup progressing to the next illegal stage. And now we have some of the people I've always thought of as intelligent being part of it.

I personally know the interim Attorney General (Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum) and although I've known him to be a very politically minded person, I can't understand his reason to participate in something so blatantly wrong. There isn't any doubt though, that he is the smartest of the lot so I see this as his first steps into Fijian Politics.

Poseci Bune is perhaps the stupidest of the lot and as Laisenia Qarase aptly described his acceptance as someone who is an opportunist and depends on being in politics and government for his "bread and butter".

Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau is another disappointment. She has lost her political credibility by participating in this stinking venture.

Manu Korovulavula sounds like a bitter man who couldn't get his way when he was in LTA and has now gotten a chance to get his own back. Although he has acknowledged the bad conditions of our roads and has hinted that he may consider moves to keep the money earned from the roads and motorist, for repair of the roads. If he achieves that, then that'd be the best thing out of this coup.

The others are least known and not worth commenting on.

Although the illegality of their participation needs to be determined by the courts, there is no denying that participating in this government is based on a foundation of a coup. A coup which is inherently un-democratic, dictatorial, and self-serving.

This government is a coup in it's next stage. The state of politics in this country, with the current mob of politicians in it, signals a state which is in dire need of a clean-up. And no, the clean-up cannot be done by the current mob. They're a bunch of dictators each with personal agendas...

It's all happening here Thursday, January 04, 2007 |

Another eventful day in this rotten state.

A rotten report (PDF) from the Fiji Human Rights Commission. A report which seeks legitimize the coup. A report which seems to have it's timing all wrong. A report which has been dismissed by the Commissioner for Human Rights Shameema Ali:

"The report by Dr Shameem is not in accordance with Commission procedures and policy and I presume it to be her personal opinion," Ms Ali said.

"The report carries numerous errors and fabrications about the roles the Commissioners have played since 2004 and I am seeking legal advice as to what further action I shall take.

"I, as a Commissioner, will consult my colleagues as to the future of the Director of FHRC in light of the serious breaches of procedure and policy in the release of this report."

http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54616


It has been dismissed by a prominent Suva lawyer in Richard Naidu:

Prominent Suva lawyer Richard Naidu has dismissed a Fiji Human Rights Commission report, saying it was "mostly laughable".

"I don't think any real lawyer will take it very seriously," Mr Naidu said after being asked about FHRC Director Dr Shaista Shameem's assertion that the 2001 and 2006 polls were unconstitutional and "justifying" the 2006 military takeover.

He said that using Dr Shameem's logic, the Chaudhry Government was as illegal as any other one since the 1987 coup.

"After all, it succeeded the SVT Government which was elected after the 1987 coup," he said.

"This would mean also that all laws after 1987 would be illegal, including the law that set up the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

"Somewhere in her academic career, Ms Shameem apparently picked up a law degree.

"Her latest effort illustrates the dangers of allowing academic sociology types to study serious subjects like law."

http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54613


The Dictator Commander Bainimarama has handed "executive authority" of the nation back to Ratu Josefa Iloilo. Apparently his heart desired to do just that today and so it happened. With such stupid people doing such stupid things it's getting harder and harder to make sensible comments about rotten situations in this country.

...

"I've been asked who is my main adviser,"he said.

Patting his chest, he said: "This is the biggest adviser. It tells you what to do and what not to do. Yeah, your conscience. It tells you what you should be doing and what you should not be doing.

"I don't need any adviser to tell me.

"All I have to do is wake up in the morning and ask myself what should I be doing?"

He said since 2000, people had been advising him.

"Whether I take it on board or not is a different matter but they advised me one way or another."

Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Hughes might have been "targeting"a group of honorary colonels as those who advised him on the coup.

In answer to who the colonels were, Commodore Bainimarama said: "Colonel Paul Manueli, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Colonel Tawakedrau and Ratu Epeli Ganilau."

Commodore Bainimarama said "he wished"prominent Indian businessmen were bankrolling the coup but it was not.

"Oh, I wish but no one's encouraging me.

"No, no one is bank-rolling me.

"When I go to functions people say'thank you for what you are doing'."

http://fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54563


With all that has happened in the last month, it is increasingly becoming clear what the real "clean-up" was all about. First was to remove the Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes. With him out of the way, all pending investigations into the affairs of the Army will be thrown out or conveniently forgotten. Second was to remove all those people from important posts they held, who had criticised the Army. The third was simply to remove the current government because they all had criticised the army and had tried to remove him earlier.

The Dictator Commander thought he could find evidence to support his actions but it's very likely that he may either be fabricating them or simply not bothering because none exist. What a stupid stupid man! The only thing he has produced so far was something he obtained from an internationally renowned fraudster in Peter Foster. What a joke. Good going Frankie.

All through this month, the Military has behaved like a big bully. They've abused peoples rights and even subjected them to violence. They used intimidation and acted belligerently in removing people from positions they had no right to. Jaganath Sami for instance was removed simply because he dared to call a spade a spade.

Enough said...this is all getting out of hand. Things are starting to stink even worse then before.

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