Friday, December 01, 2006

On Vice and Virtures.

Above Image: Fiji Army Commander and Vice President watching the Sukuna Bowl rugby match.

The cutting edge of Blogs over conventional news sources is now carrying over to the use of terminology. It is rather amusing for the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark to be using the word featured numerously in S.i.F.M. The word: "Coupster" is used by the P.M Helen Clark in this segment radio interview by Niu Fm describing the future intentions of Fiji Army Commander while reconciling his exemplary record, post 2000 coup. An accurate chronology of the political events has been outlined by this Reuters article.

Podcast interview by Niu FM correspondent Mike Field in Fiji, highlights that fear the unknown and lack of factual information to support rumors. Rumors, like tip-offs share a similar DNA and this Fiji Times article on Pacific Island Forum reflects stove-piped objectivity by member diplomats on their concerns for grassroots frustrations. This gate-keeping further underlines the Forum's apparent divorce from grass-root socio-political frustrations. Wasn't the Forum also caught flat-footed on such signals on pro-democracy preceding the Tonga riots?

One leading update from Fiji Village is that, Army Commander says Laisenia Qarase has lost control and the Commander further denies that an extension to the dead-line has been given.

An article by The Australian, give an element of credence to the report of the crippled nature of Fiji Prime Minister.

In another article by Fiji Village(FV), several Cabinet cabinets in hiding have been urged to keep a low profile and the F.V article quotes Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan who said, the telephoned comments gave overwhelming support to the Army Commander's clean up campaign, in Radio Tarana's radio talk back show.

Although, the Fiji Prime Minister attempts to lobby the support from the office of the President in seeking dissolution of Parliament; the P.M Laisenia Qarase flaunts the words of democracy and also denigrates the system of dictatorship as the ideals for Fiji in an interview featured in this Niu FM podcast . This would be a classic example of such mis-representations of the definition of democracy applied in Fiji. Selective Democracy is a subject covered lightly by other bloggers and this Letter to Fiji Times Editor.

Kofi Annan

The recent warning by the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, to pull out all the current Fijian peacekeeping troops should there be a military coup in Fiji, is unbelievable and unprofessional, to say the least.

Mr Annan must critically analyse both sides of the story before making a public comment.

I am surprised that a military coup can be used by the UN to pull Fiji's peacekeeping troops out.

I hope Mr Annan is not just uttering a warning to please the Prime Minister because we all know that pulling our troops out is not as easy as it seems.

It is an enormous process and is an expensive exercise to the UN as well.

Our troops in Iraq for example went there because no other country would want to face the extreme risk and the monotony of the job there.

And now that they are doing extremely well, it would be foolish for the UN to get them out at the expense of the country's internal problem.

By the way when Rawlings staged the military coup in Ghana in 1979, the Ghanaian UN peacekeeping troops were not pulled out from Lebanon.

Our troops were not pulled out from Lebanon in 1987.

Perhaps Mr Annan should treat the intricacies of Fiji's situation with the best of his tact and diplomacy and stop making unnecessary warnings.

Democracy can be very deceiving as is the case here in Fiji.

And unfortunately the UN does not have a solution to encounter situations where the ruling party manipulates the rule of democracy to suit them.

Isireli Tawake

The Prime Minister understands the Fijian model of democracy is infact a hybrid template using the native institutions as electoral colleges. Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) is such a entity. The same entity that has a record of contaminating the system of Governance in Fiji in the wake of the coups of 1987 and 2000.

For the Fiji Prime Minister to equate the GCC with democracy only illustrates the sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors artistically employed to cloud the judgment of observers. It is far easy to talk about democracy rather than apply its ideals in Fiji. The sentiments that brilliantly stoke the imaginations of all theorists in democracy, falls quite short in the actual verification.

Outgoing President of Fiji Law Society's remark about not taking sides in a Fiji Times article further reinforce an ambiguous platform that does no justice to either camps of the impasse.

This is the excerpt of the speech:

Don't take sides, Leung tells judiciary

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Participants at the Attorney-Generals conference+ Enlarge this image

Participants at the Attorney-Generals conference

The judiciary should be vigilant and avoid the temptation, however, unintended to take sides or to prejudice events or personalities, former Fiji Law Society president Graham Leung said.

Mr Leung made the comments at the 8th Attorney-General's Conference at the Warwick Fiji Resort where he spoke on the topic of 'Continuing challenges 12 years after the (Beattie) Commission of Inquiry: A time for evaluation.'

He said it was very easy in the fever of the moment to point fingers.

"I do not think that at a time of political instability, that this is either helpful or wise.

"It does not contribute to solutions.

"On the contrary, it may even make things worse," he said.

Mr Leung said the political impasse that gripped Fiji over the past few weeks suggested the greatest single challenge the country faced was a consensus and common understanding on the importance of the rule of law.

He said the rule of law was vital to Fiji and history taught that when the rule of law had been assaulted or challenged, the country had ended in grief.

"Whatever justifications at that time or now, there should be little doubt in people's minds that the 1987 coup and the attempted Speight coup in 2000 were wrong.

"It is illegal and criminal," he said.

Mr Leung said the damage to Fiji since that defining event in May 1987 had been incalculable, with untold energy and resources wasted as a result of successive acts of political instability and the rape of the Constitution.

He suggested it would be a terrible mistake to ignore or forget about the important practical problems within the system of justice simply because the country was engulfed in a political crisis.

He said life must go on. "The courts must continue functioning and remain focused on the dispensation of justice independently without fear or favor, ill will or rancour.

"In the coming months they will be severely tested.

"How they respond to these wider challenges and the issues that are likely to be spawned by the political crisis will determine the future direction and content of judicial administration in Fiji," Mr Leung said.

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