The Fiji TimesPetty-minded agitators – Treating democracy with disdain and contempt

Late Thursday night, via a unprecedented Gazette discover, Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu notified the individuals of Fiji that the FijiFirst parliamentary Opposition member Dr Mahendra Reddy’s seat was now vacant.

Dr Reddy resigned solely 4 days after standing shoulder-toshoulder with former Lawyer- Basic Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum whereas he dished out considered one of his traditional monologues to the media.

It delivered to an finish eight years by which the previous minister, first of Training after which of Agriculture, by no means didn’t entertain the individuals – even when he didn’t imply to.

To be honest to Dr Reddy, he appeared completely disinterested in what was being dished out – that too from somebody who had managed to unceremoniously Youth members of the  disqualify himself as a member of Parliament just a few days earlier than.

It now implies that two of Fiji- First’s 26 MPs elected within the 2022 Basic Election having both misplaced or vacated their seats – even earlier than Parliament sits correctly for the primary time on February 3.

And that too from a celebration that seemingly can’t digest the elemental reality that Fiji now has a authorities of the individuals, by the individuals and for the individuals.

Three of its members – FijiFirst chief Voreqe Bainimarama, Aiyaz SayedKhaiyum and Mosese Bulitavu – are behaving like petty-minded agitators, combating over stolen lollipops.

The lollipop issue

On December 3, 2021, Mr Bainimarama accused Nationwide Federation Get together chief Professor Biman Prasad of attempting to get in to authorities at any value. He additionally mocked Prof Prasad about corruption and USP. “I’m determined to enter authorities. I’ll say something to get there,” mentioned of him. He additionally tried to ridicule the NFP chief who had earlier requested the then PM to reply if he would settle for the election outcomes if he misplaced energy. “He talked about what we’re going to do if we lose the elections, as if we’re going to do something aside from step down”, Mr Bainimarama mentioned. However after shedding energy to the coalition Authorities, FFP’s two leaders have tried every thing to shoot down the coalition. The outcome! A coalition authorities transferring full-steam forward with empathy, care and compassion in direction of the individuals in 5 weeks whereas the brand new opposition behaves like headless chickens, fluttering aimlessly in the best way that was the hallmark and legacy of their governance for the final 16 years.

One shoe dimension doesn’t match all

Quickly after New Yr, Mr Bainimarama described the brand new authorities as “oppressive and repressive”, claiming it was undermining rights and freedoms underneath the 2013 Structure. Actually, the very reverse is the reality. Virtually 58 per cent of voters solid their ballots towards Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum, and emphatically ended their 16 years in authorities. The euphoria of the nation was seen when the brand new authorities was shaped. Why? One easy however most essential phrase – freedom. Freedom has been a elementary proper that the individuals of Fiji haven’t loved for 16 years. They have been certain by worry – worry of legal guidelines, worry of persecution, shedding their jobs and victimisation. To be vital and be criticised with out worry of recrimination or to be related and encour- The euphoria of the nation was seen when the brand new authorities was shaped. Why? One easy however most essential phrase – freedom. Freedom has been a elementary proper that the individuals of Fiji haven’t loved for 16 years. They have been certain by worry – worry of legal guidelines, worry of persecution, shedding their jobs and victimisation – Kamal Iyer age others to affix a trigger for nationwide curiosity, isn’t against the law. To wholeheartedly enable and welcome Prof Brij Vilash Lal house after 12 years in exile, to the land of his start and to his house in Tabia as his ultimate resting place, isn’t a risk to nationwide safety. To revive hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of excellent grants to the College of the South Pacific and permit USP vice-chancellor Pal Ahluwalia to return to the Laucala Campus after his pressured midnight exit, isn’t oppressive or repressive. To supply $200 to every little one in a poor household, from early childhood schooling as much as Yr 13 as a again to highschool grant, is an act of aid and compassion to the individuals who have for lengthy endured very excessive value of dwelling. To re-introduce Ratu Sukuna Day as a public vacation isn’t oppressive or unconstitutional. What was oppressive and regressive was the choice by the Bainimarama led authorities to scrap it as a vacation. To announce a Girmit Day vacation is momentous, burying the lip-service paid to the legacy of the girmitiya by the FijiFirst authorities that rejected a plea to declare a one-off vacation on November 11, 2016 to mark the centenary of the arrival of the final ship to move indentured labourers to Fiji. So why are the above bulletins by the coalition Authorities being considered as regressive, oppressive and curbing the freedoms of individuals?

Who has breached the Structure?

It’s ludicrous for FijiFirst to accuse the coalition Authorities of breaching the Structure. For Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to announce the sustaining of a register in every minister’s workplace to report presents, irrespective of how small, to be primarily utilized by the State, is an instance of transparency. In contrast to FijiFirst, that miserably didn’t enact the Code of Conduct and set up the Accountability and Transparency Fee for greater than 9 years, regardless of being legislated within the Structure. To vary Standing Orders to successfully make Parliamentary governance a rubber-stamp breaches each correct constitutional precept. To legislate one’s wage, perks and privileges via a Decree three days earlier than Parliament in October 2014, solely to later exorbitantly enhance abroad journey allowances of as much as $3000 a day, is violation of authority and belief.

The flight of worry

Concern-mongering and the politics of connivance, deceit and treachery, have change into issues of the previous. Shameful certainly! Forgiven however not forgotten. Voreqe Bainimarama has change into the first-ever defeated PM to not have vacated his official residence for a month, taking benefit as an alternative of PM Rabuka’s generosity in giving him time to depart. He has change into the primary politically vanquished PM to not have conceded defeat. To not be outdone, Mr Sayed- Khaiyum has naturally joined the bandwagon. A chief authorized officer of the State for 16 years, the previous A-G dumped himself from Parliament by appointing himself to the Constitutional Places of work Fee underneath his personal Structure. When the FijiFirst get together dominated, the Structure was excellent. Now they’re out, they are saying the Structure is breached. Each ought to grasp actuality, having embraced an ally in Mosese Bulitavu, the person they attacked as a racist three years in the past and abruptly co-opted into their get together of their desperation. Unashamed, unprincipled and uncaring individuals, who can’t digest the lack of their autocratic rule, having wielded the sword of Damocles over Fiji. Prepare for the sword of Excalibur as an alternative!

• KAMAL IYER is a former journalist and member of the Nationwide Federation Get together. The views expressed are his and never essentially of this newspaper

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