Bainimarama admits supporting the 2000 Speight coup and stated that the 1997 constitution was very good that he and his officer corps could not imagine anything better.
From FijiToday blog. Why Bainimarama can’t bear the 1997 Constitution, by navosavakadua
Bainimarama who has set himself up as the ultimate law giver has told us we cannot have the 1997 Constitution.
If he going to give himself the role of the ultimate judge of our constitution he needs to tell us exactly why the constitution is flawed and when he discovered this.
We can thank Yash Ghai for an account of Bainimarama’s past view of the 1997 Constitution. In a paper written jointly with Jill Cotrell for the United States Institute for Peace, entitled Between Coups Constitution Making in Fiji, Yash Ghai says that he met with the Commander and senior officers in October 2000. They discussed the 1997 constitution, which Bainimarama and his officers told Prof Ghai, they had just started to read. To their surprise “they found it an excellent constitution and a better one could not be imagined. But they had not known this when they more or less supported the coup!”
So let’s get this straight. In early 2000 Bainimarama thought the 1997 Constitution was was so bad he abgrogated it in a process which he and his officers described as “more or less supporting the Speight coup”. That’s right, he admitted that he had more or less supported the Speight coup. By October of that year, however, after reading the 1997 constitution, Bainimarama thought it was very good, so good that he and his officer corps said they could not imagine anything better.
Even after his coup in 2006 he was still swearing his loyalty to the constitution. The Charter of 2008 which Bainimarama gave us declared the 1997 Constitution was the basis of all things good. Then sometime after that he came to see it was “no good for Fiji”.
Bainimarama says it is ‘discriminatory’ and ‘no good for Fiji’ but he hasn’t told us is exactly what discriminatory bits he doesn’t like and when he discovered them.
Does he think we don’t understand what’s going on here? The problem with the 1997 constitution is that, if it is regarded as valid, he is guilty of treason. If we return to the 1997 constitution it means all of the Decrees passed since the Court of Appeal decision in 2009 are not only illegal, they are treasonous. His dishonesty about this does no-one any good.
We need genuine reconciliation, with honesty, openness and a readiness to start anew. The two obstacles standing in the way are Bainimarama and Khaiyum. Given a choice between these two and the 1997 Constitution, who apart from the two criminals themselves would not choose the 1997 Constitution?
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