Maika Bolatiki from the Fiji Sun picks the corrupt, lying, treasonous dictator Bainimarama as person of the year in Fiji. And how could the Fiji Sun pick anyone else? To do so will mean certain nasty, childish reprisals from Fiji's AG [FAG] Khaiyum.
So true to form Bolatiki sings the dictator's praises in leading the corrupt and brutal junta in building a "new" and "better" Fiji. Yes indeed it is a new Fiji because Fijians have not experienced such a highly corrupt, oppressive and stupid leadership in its entire history.
Bolatiki, like many uneducated, corrupt and lazy bakewas sing Bainimarama's praises even when it is a lie and the truth is blatantly obvious. For example, stating that Fiji, under Bainimarama's dictatorship, is where all are equal and governance is truly democratic, even though everyone knows there is no freedom of speech, no rule of law and all decisions are made by only two criminals - with one criminal, the puppet master, being more equal than the puppet bainimarama.
FijiLeaks provides an insight by Rajesh Chaudhry into what a bastard year Fiji has had under Bainimarama and his puppet master FAG. This is the reality.
1. Trashing the Ghai constitution – this document was arrived at by input of the people nationally. It was rejected, Ghai was threatened and left Fiji fearing for his life. The regime then came up with its sham document and purported to consult people – an exercise in telling rather than listening to the people. This act early in 2013 was a harbinger of things to come.
2. PWD workers decision – Judge Anjala Wati sat on a simple leave application for judicial review for 12 months and dismissed the application for reasons which were flimsy at best. For judges to take 12 months to rule on such a straightforward application raises serious questions about the competence of certain officers. It also shows a judiciary that is cowering in fear of the illegal regime and does not have the courage to show determination to rule independently on matters of law.
3. PPRD – the illegal regime, in order to cling to power sought to make a decree to regulate political parties. Its draconian provisions would remove any independence and free will of political parties. It would make political parties subservient to the regime and parties could be suspended at any time. This was challenged in the High Court but Judge Anjala Wati ruled that the judiciary could not strike out parts of decrees which were oppressive. This decision was internationally condemned and severely embarrassed Wati, who fled to Labasa to hide in shame.
4. Sugar industry – was again in the doldrums despite the spin by FSC. Sugar production is at an all time law and as the industry suffered Bainimarama was appointed Chair of the ISO and apart from hosting sugar leaders at plush hotels at taxpayers’ expense and giving prepared speeches did little else. Farmers continue to be burdened by high costs of production and unrepresented as an occupation group.
5. Economy – an accurate assessment of economic performance is very difficult given the regime’s refusal to release figures and allow independent bodies to audit government accounts. Unemployment remains high at close to 10% and the cost of living has put many basic items out of the reach of ordinary citizens. A plethora of taxes keep being imposed on the people without discussion or support. The Commerce Commission has become a regime bunny and has consistently failed to perform its statutory duties.
6. Vote buying – to win electoral support, the illegal regime has tried to address infrastructure issues in rural areas. What people of Fiji should have as of right i.e. water, electricity and roads, was made out to be a political issue with Bainimarama seeking to criticize past leaders (democratically elected leaders) quite unfairly. Many projects have been financed through expensive loans and for which no acquittals have been provided to date.
7. Attacks on chiefs/ church – the people saw such attacks by Bainimarama on numerous occasions. Such unjustified attacks show a very scared man who seeks to blame the chiefs and the church to cover up for his acts of murder, theft and treason. The chiefs/ church have maintained a very dignified silence but are working privately through traditional channels to do the needful at the September 2014 elections.
8. Torture of prisoners – the nation and the world was disgusted with the video of police and army officers beating captured prisoners. The beatings were horrific and some 5 months after the video aired there has been no arrest. Bainimarama has publicly sided with the regime law enforcement thugs. The Police mouthpiece Rusiate Tudravu, as usual waffles on this from one day to another. Bainimarama’s support for such law breakers shows his contempt for the law. This man cannot be trusted to up hold the law when he endorses such acts of brutality. For the first time the people of Fiji heard a regime leader condoning rather than criticizing such acts. It lent great support to charges of Bainimarama’s involvement and sanction of beatings and murder of the CRW soldiers in 2000.
9. Media – the less said about the media the better. The media in Fiji has become pliant and subservient to the illegal regime. The Fiji Sun’s Maika and Jyoti and Fiji Village reporter Vijay Narayan are prime example of regime suckers, who are a shame to the profession of journalism.
10. Salaries – the people saw an elusive regime when calls were made for disclosure of ministers’ salaries. This was seen as the height of hypocrisy from a regime which often has a habit of accusing others of being non transparent. The mega salary increases to senior civil servants showed a regime which held fiscal policy with contempt. Salaries of $160 – 220,000.00 cannot be justified by any stretch of the imagination and is an attempt to buy the loyalty of senior civil servants in the lead up to the polls. The salary increases to ordinary civil servants, police and military was clearly not enough given the high cost of living under seven years of the illegal regime.
11. Harassment of businesses – FIRCA and FNPF, it their desire to raise revenue for the illegal regime’s irresponsible expenditure harasses and harangues hardworking businesses for advance taxes and levies and is trigger happy in effecting DPOs. Many businesses have since scaled down and a lot of smaller businesses have actually shut shop.
12. Still playing the race card – Bainimarama’s address to the military corps a fortnight ago was boring and full of the usual rhetoric. Blaming chiefs and church, blaming politicians and blaming racial politics. None of these are or have been an issue. Soldiers were ordered to tow the regime line or to leave. Race has never been an issue and cannot be used to justify Bainimarama’s usurpation of power from a democratically elected government and of the murder of the CRW soldiers and civilians such as Verebasaga and Rabaka. This man must be held to account for these high and serious crimes.
13. Driti – the Driti trial showed that the opinions of assessors are irrelevant under the illegal regime. Like Mac Patel, Driti was found not guilty by all 3 assessors only for such verdict to be overturned by judge Madigan on a matter relating to facts – something which assessors are tasked at determining. The trial of Driti confirmed what many had started to believe – that Khaiyum was leading the country astray and Bainimarama had strayed from the 2006 takeover principles. Ironically, the trial also debunked the myth that any soldier was protected by any immunity clause. Soldiers are understandably nervous and untrusting of Bainimarama.
14. The BaiYum con-stitution – this heinous and arbitrary document was foisted on the people in September 2013. Gone was the recognition of the GCC and its role in nation building. Gone were the entrenched provisions as it related to native land. What had been included in this farcical document was an entrenched immunity provision for past, present and future acts of soldiers. The penny had finally dropped and the people woke up to the fact that Bainimarama and Khaiyum were in self preservation mode with the immunity clause. This sham document will become the supreme law of Fiji from tomorrow.
Many believe that there will be no elections come 2014. Bainimarama is in a real bind come 2014. He has to retire in April 2014 from the military, having reached retirement age. He has indicated an intention to form his own political party but many are rightly skeptical. However, his retirement from the military will place him on the same platform as any platform.
There is no guarantee that any new Commander RFMF will align himself to Bainimarama or the regime. It also goes without saying that Bainimarama has little if any political base or capital on his own. He will be, come April 2014, literally an Emperor without his (military) clothes.
So friends, 2013 has been a year of change. Critics may mock us but we have been and remain committed to change and to a free, fair and democratic Fiji. For it is better to have and to continue to try than not to have tried at all. As the great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King once said:
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent. It is time to stand up and to say that the regime is unlawful, oppressive and undemocratic."
It has been a year of change in the minds of the people and most importantly, in the minds of the soldiers and others who believed in the 2006 cause. The die has been cast. Bainimarama’s end is nigh. Martin Luther King Jr famously said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Bainimarama must be subjected to the rule of law in 2014 and is non negotiable.
2014 is a year of promise.