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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rabuka resigns from SODELPA

Former Fiji PM and first coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka has resigned from SODELPA after revelations emerged that he was sidelined as party leader in favour of Ro Teimumu Kepa.

Apparently Ro Kepa’s application for party leader arrived after the closing date but the then party president Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa accepted it.

The five people who applied for SODELPA party leader - Sitiveni Rabuka, Ratu Meli Saukuru, Tupeni Baba, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and Anare Jale – were then told to withdraw their applications

Rabuka’s resignation has also been attributed to a joint statement by SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Ro Kepa.

Rabuka’s letter

Dear Secretary General,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this letter to you in your capacity as Secretary General of the Party I had wanted to join to further my political service to the people of Fiji and the country I love.

I also find that I have no other alternative but to write to you in regards to the Page 1 article in today’s (Monday 31 August) Fiji Sun newspaper headed ‘Rabuka eyed for SODELPA post?’, and other matters.

I was approached by ‘phone by Hon Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, who, I believe, was recently elected President of SODELPA, at 1458 hours, Friday 28th August, informing me that there is to be a Special General Meeting of SODELPA at the Epworth Hall on Saturday 5th September 2015. He also informed me that I would be nominated to be Vice President of the Party. He did not inform me that my nomination will require an amendment to the Party Constitution to allow for a third Party Vice President, nor did I know if there are other Vice Presidents of the Party. As you know, I have not been active in any of the Party matters since I was barred from contesting the Elections last year.

To implement this course of action intended at the Special General Meeting would tantamount to ‘tailor-making’ the Constitution of the Party to suit an agenda, namely my inclusion as a Party Official.

If the Party was to do this, then it would weaken its own arguments against the Fiji First Party and Government, whom the Party alleges changed the National Constitution to suit their own individual and group situations and requirements.

You will be aware that I am now not a Financial, or Card – Carrying member of SODELPA. I did not pay my Candidate’s Nomination Fees before the General Elections of 2014 when my application to stand under the Party banner for that General Election was rejected. I contributed to some candidates’ campaign because I thought those candidates would serve the people of my village, Tikina and Province well because they understood the needs of my area of Navatu and Cakaudrove, and I also believed they could contribute constructively to the development of our nation.

You are aware of the circumstances that led to my rejection as a Candidate for Party Leader, as well as a Party Candidate in the 2014 General Elections, as conveyed to me by the then President of the Party, Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa.

I was told that my record as Coup Leader of the 1987 Coup would jeopardize the Party’s chances in the Elections, and the Party Leader and now Leader of the Opposition, Hon Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Party’s Youth Wing and the Party’s Women’s Wing strongly objected to my being Party Leader and also my being a Candidate. Ratu Waqausa also stated, in the presence of a very good friend and comrade in arms during our Army careers, that the Hon Leader of the Opposition, also threatened to resign from the Party, if I was allowed to contest the Elections as a Party candidate.

The final decision, you will recall, was officially conveyed to me by Ratu Waqausa in the presence of one of the members of the Selection Panel, Mr Sekonaia Tui Mailekai, after Mr Laisenia Qarase had excused himself to attend to another pressing business.

I accepted the final decision that was conveyed to me, and expressed my regrets that those members of the Party who opposed my joining the Party and contesting the Elections under the Party banner, had not forgiven me for 1987. I also conveyed my regrets that the Youth and Women’s Wings that champion ‘non-violence’ found it acceptable not to object to my former son in law who brutally beat up my daughter before divorcing her and marrying a woman who became a senior member of the Party’s Women’s Wing and its PR/Media Cell.

I also regretted that the Party did not consider my participation in the corporate leadership of our nation between the years 1992 and 1999, when I was Prime Minister, and particularly my leading the Government Members of Parliament to work in a very cordial manner with the Members of the Opposition, many of whom were victims of the Coup I led in 1987, to reach an unprecedented accord in the promulgation of the all-embracing Constitution Amendment Act of 1997 – the Constitution SODELPA now wishes to champion and bring back into operation.

I do not know if the claim that the Hon Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu had called for the Hon Ro Teimumu Kepa to reconsider her position as Leader of the Opposition after leading SODELPA to an Election defeat in the 2014 Elections, as made in one of the dallies a few days ago is factual or not, but, The Hon Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu made a similar call for me to resign the SVT leadership when he called on me with Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (then a member of SVT), to take personal responsibility for the SVT loss and resign as Party Leader. I accepted their call and resigned which paved the way for Hon Ratu Inoke to become Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition in 1999 until Speight’s Coup of 2000. I eventually resigned from Parliament after I was elected Chairman of the Council of Chiefs because it was a ‘Public Office’ and it contravened the Constitution to be both – a Public Officer and Member of Parliament.

Now that I have been invited to attend the SGM, and accept nomination to be a Party Vice President, although I am not a Financial Member of the Party, I wonder what things have changed:

  • I have not changed – I am still the person who led the military takeover of Parliament and changed the government in 1987. Interestingly, the Hon Leader of the Opposition’s late husband served as Attorney General in the post-Coup Government from 1987 – 1992. Other Party candidates in the 2014 General Elections and Party Officials were under my command in the Army from 1987 to when I resigned in 1991;

  • I am still the person that led SVT to defeat in the 1999 General Elections;

  • Have the Party Youth Wing and the Party Women’s Wing changed their stance on my participating as a member of SODELPA?

  • Has Hon Ro Teimumu Kepa changed her views about my becoming a member of the Party she founded?

These, General Secretary, are some of the issues that SODELPA needs to sort out before getting me involved in Party matters.

Changing the Party rules or its Constitution in order to get me into the Party will not change the views of Party members opposed to my membership of the Party. If anything, it could further divide the Party and erode the support it currently enjoys.

With respect, I feel that the Party should have been on a Consolidation & Growth journey since the end of Elections last year. The Officers and Members of the Party should have been visiting their supporters and growing their numbers within Fiji in order to grow the Party support base and consolidate its support among the constituents. The Party should not risk losing the support of those already in the Party by including someone that some existing members find objectionable.

A final word, Mr. Secretary General, one cannot save a leaking boat by changing the Captain or the Engineer; one must fix the leak (no pun intended).

With the foregoing and if I have not officially done so before, I herewith tender my resignation from SODELPA, and wish you well in your future endeavors.

Yours Sincerely,
SL Rabuka

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bau chief dubs overseas Fijians slamming Bai 'losers'

More than 100 armed soldiers yesterday patrolled Tavua town as some 30 villagers from Ra made a second court appearance over charges of sedition and urging political violence.

Today the chief of Bau, Ratu George Kadavulevu Cakobau (Junior) has told Fijians living overseas to "not open their mouths" about how Fiji is governed.

Ratu George told the Fiji Sun, "Fijians living overseas criticising Bainimarama’s leadership are losers". He was reacting to support being apparently given by Fijians in Australia to the Ra accused of sedition.

He called on all Fijians to support the Bainimarama led government.

Who is this Ratu George Cakobau Jr. you ask?

Also known as Ratu Jioji Cakobau, Ratu George Cakobau, Jr. is the son of the late Governor-General, Ratu Sir George Cakobau  who was also the Vunivalu of Bau (widely considered to be Fiji's most senior chiefly position) and the late Adi Samanunu Cakobau.

The title of Vunivalu of Bau was left vacant s
ince the death of his father in 1989, owing to disagreements over the succession.

Ratu George fought with his younger brother over the title and usurped the title in January this year.

This is the first time we've seen him publicly supporting Baininarama and sticking his nose in politics and wonder if he has some knowledge of the missing $100 million.

So should Fijians living overseas 'shut their mouths' about what's happening in Fiji?

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Soldiers deployed to find alleged firearms

One hundred and forty soldiers are now assisting police to find firearms that apparently were going to be used to form an independent state in Fiji.

Over 60 people have so far been arrested in the Western Division on sedition and inciting political violence charges.

The arrests follow claims of military-style training in Ra province.

There are claims that a former British army officer has been secretly running the military-style training camps in several villages and this training involved firearms.

Now the military has used Section 131 of the botched Constitution to allow soldiers to search for the firearms which they believe has been hidden away.

Coup4.5 has been told the soldiers are driving around in Budget rental cars in Ra and Tavua looking for the firearms.

Meanwhile the Public Accounts Committee is still waiting for answers as to the whereabouts of $100 million dollars dispensed in the last year.

When questioned, the Finance Ministry told the committee they were not in a position to tell them where this money went to.

The money was put into a fund called Head 50, where ministries apparently could dip into if they needed extra money. 

It seems there are no receipts or record of which ministry or who took what amount to date.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Key player behind Bainimarama money making excursion to Canada named

The man believed to be responsible for getting Frank
Netani Gucake (left) in Fiji in June.
Bainimarama to Canada is Netani Gucake, who worked for the Fiji Sun in the 80s and 90s.

Gucake is now working for the church and the organisation Alpha International, a Christian based group that donated a container load of soup packets to the Fiji Corrections Services recently.

Sources say Gucake is the prime mover behind Bainimarama's week-long trip, rallying business and community.

They also he roped in one Bobby Naicker, who paid all flight and hotel expenses for Bainimarama and wife, Mary.

Netani Gucake is understood to have been behind the of recruiting of Fijian students to attend a College in Canada, with one source claiming he got a 'huge cut from the College while charging students consulting fees as well'.

Bainimarama will be attending at least six to eight events in Canada, with tickets ranging from $25 to $350 per person.

Last night local Canada time he attended a dinner at the home of one Peter Raju, where $250 tickets were the going rate.

The isa lei lunch at cost of $125 per person in Surrey is to be held tonight local time and people are paying $50 to get in.

Tomorrow, during the day he is attending an open air meeting where former Fijians have been charged large sums to put up tents and stalls.

Saturday afternoon and night has been reserved for Fiji Muslims and the Muslim supporters of Bainimarama led by one Mr Yasin are coughing up handsomely to meet with him.

On Sunday Bainimarama will be officially cutting the ribbon of a real estate office and attending a luncheon in a parking lot. The cost is $35 per person.

Several readers have written to Coup 4.5 asking "So who is collecting all the money and where are the profits going?"

The Fiji Sun has today run a story saying Bainimarama has invited Fijians in Canada to invest back home saying, "You deserve the opportunities Fiji now offers" and promising "peace and prosperity."

The same story mentions Peter Raju describing him as a Fijian businessman from the Canadian Duty Free Distributors in Richmond, BC.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

EXPOSED: Bainimarama to fundraise and meet Muslim Community

It says he's chief guest at the Fiji Day Celebrations but what is the real motive for Frank Bainimarama's trip to Vancouver?

The answer lies in the programme for the celebrations.

On Saturday 8th August Canadian time, Bainimarama will meet the Muslim Business Council. The programme is littered with events but does not state any other official meeting with any other business organisation.

On Friday 7th August Canadian time, there is a red carpet gala dinner. There will be 200 tables and each table will have 10 people. The cost of the tickets? $50 Canadian.

On Sunday 9th August there is an Isa Lei Night, with tickets at $35 Canadian.

We believe both the dinner and Isa Lei night are sponsored.

So if the dinner is sold out, there will be 2000 people; 200 tables x 10 persons. This means $100,000 Canadian - the equivalent to $162,000 Fiji Dollars - will be raised.

While the former Fiji residents living in Vancouver have paid airfares for Bainimarama, it is not clear who has paid airfares for Mary Bainimarama.

Obviously, Bainimarama has already received per diem for the trip, paid by the taxpayers.

This trip to Canada looks very much like a personal trip with  

shades of Bainimarama's one-time Robin Hood Mahendra Chaudhry's fundraising expeditions after the 2000 coup.

See the programme above for yourself.

Also an advertisement and a message from one Shalendra Kumar, obviously for a souvenir magazine.

See for yourself.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Disquiet again at barracks: will it flare to something more?

Is there truth to talk the military is moving against Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum? 

It's by no means the first time the army has been disgruntled and resentful about the unfettered power of Khaiyum. 

Senior officers Roko Ului Mara and Pita Diti tried to rein in Khaiyum but Bainimarama threw his key supporters to the wolves in favour of Khaiyum because he could produce illegal regulations to control citizens, laws that allowed him to hang on to the power he had seized by coup.  

Who can forget the fallout between the Military Council and Bainimarama over Khaiyum in 2011?  Mara made a dramatic escape to Tonga and Driti was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

It looks like Groundhog Day with the RFMF again exhorting Bainimarama to listen to them, his loyal followers, instead of putting Khaiyum ahead of them as he has done.

Khaiyum is certainly under fire but whether the QEB restlessness flares into anything bigger remains to be seen.

There was no sign of movement inside and outside of his Vunakece road home in Namadi Heights today; there has also been unconfirmed reports that he was taken to QEB - who by and what for remains unclear. 

Another unconfirmed report suggests military were in pursuit of his vehicle earlier today. 

Bainimarama has managed to quell army dissent previously by bribing them with hefty pay increases and having the likes of Mosese Tikoitoga to run things, but Tikoitoga's sudden departure may have sparked another attempt to bring   Khaiyum down.

The illegal appointment of Naupoto Viliame as Tikoitoga's replacement, as we revealed yesterday, may have tipped things. 

The Fiji sun has reported there was a meeting today between Bainimarama and senior officers and it was attended by Fiji First MPS who were officers before. Tikoitoga was not in that meeting. 

The convenient alliance between Bainimarama, Khaiyum and cohorts Nazhat Shameem should have been derailed a long time ago.

If that opportunity has surfaced again, the reasons why have long been documented on the pages of this blog. 

Important questions: Khaiyum is obviously under the pump but how far will it go? Who is in control at QEB - Tikoitoga or Naupoto? And why hasn't Bainimarama interfered? Is Bainimarama prepared to sacrifice his Number Two and partner in crime to save himself?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Army commander resigns, Naupoto appointment illegal

Happier days
Confirmation that Mosese Tikoitoga is severing ties with the Fiji military regime.

He has resigned from the military - a statement was posted on the Fijian government Facebook a short time ago. 
As tipped to Coup4.5 yesterday, Captain Viliame Naupoto has been made acting commander. 

However the appointment of Naupoto, a failed Fiji First Candidate in the 2014 election, is illegal.

The statement on Facebook says Frank Bainimarama as Chairman of Constitutional Offices Commission advised the President to appoint Naupoto to replace Mosese Tikoitoga, who has resigned. 
Viliame Naupoto

We believe Tikoitoga did not resign but was forced out after being given an ultimatum on Friday night.

Naupoto's appointment means Bainimarama is violating his own Constitution.

The RFMF Commander is appointed by the Constitutional Offices Commission. The Commission (COC) comprises of the PM, Attorney General, two of the PM's nominees, the Leader of the Opposition and his/her nominee as members.

The full COC is comprised of  Frank Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the PM's nominees Sanjay Kaba and Ajit Kodagoda, Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and her nominee,constitutional lawyer Richard Naidu.

We have established the Commission did not meet to make an Acting appointment of Commander.

Bainimarama went to QEB today to announce Tikoitoga's departure and Naupoto's appointment.

So who is the real Commander?

Until, the first sitting of parliament last October, Bainimarama as PM was the Constitutional Offices Commission. But it changed after the elections and convening of Parliament.

This whole process is illegal and for Bainimarama to resort to such a serious breach of the Constitution shows it is more than Tikoitoga's extra-marital affair with Koila Costello that prompted him to illegally get rid of his once loyal ally and replace him again illegally with his former Navy colleague Viliame Naupoto.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tikoitoga and Costello riddle

Tikoitoga out?

Qiliho in?

Who is Koila Costello?

Is Tikoitoga going to South Africa as Ambassador?

Are Tikoitoga and Costello divorcing their wife and husband respectively and become a couple?

Only time will tell and confirm.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fiji sugar mills and cane growers

The pipe dumping waste from Penang mill
Once upon a time it was the number one export for the country, but what is the future of the sugar industry in Fiji today?

Since the military coup, the Fiji Sugar Corporation has refused to release weekly crush reports of each of its four mills.

This information was useful in analysing the performance of the mills and Government, through the parliamentary select committee on sugar could demand answers from the management of FSC for any failures at each of the mills.

This blog has been told that cane growers are suffering losses due to milling inefficiencies.

The National Federation Party who has members who are cane growers, has obtained evidence of Penang Sugar Mill in Rakiraki rife with problems and inefficiencies caused my management and operational bungling.

This has deteriorated to such an extent that sugar juice is being discharged into the river running next to the mill resulting in the death of fish, crabs and other seafood. The extent of discharge has blackened the river.

Since the mill started operating four weeks ago growers are being forced to pay and feed cane cutters to retain them because they do not regularly harvest cane due to mill breakdowns. 

Cane Lorry operators and drivers are also suffering having to endure extremely long delays before being able to dump cane laden on their trucks. 

In the case of Penang Mill, 80% of cane carted to the mill is by lorry transport. The mill workers are also suffering in silence and forced to implement band-aid solutions that are cosmetic and only camouflage the rot at the mill. 

Evidence of pollution and problems

From left to right:

Picture 1: Evaporator Pollution Pump 
The repair of this pump was submitted last year for the capital project grants however it was not awarded by the head office. As for now these pumps are not functioning as required and as a result, those sugar syrup that is to be recycled and reprocessed after going through the pump, is now being discharged directly into the pollution ponds thus causing wastage and also complication in the processes of the ponds. This is the major reason for the foul smell being emitted from the mill.

Picture 2: Dump Line Leakage into the River 
The pipe that carries cane juice has a major leakage and needs to be urgently repaired, however a tube is being temporarily fixed, which still enables minor leakages and thus the juice being wasted and discharged into the river. This can be repaired, however the mill has to shut down as for now. However this could have been fixed during the cleaning intermissions, but there had been no commitment or response from the management . This is a clear indication of poor management.

Picture 3 and 4: Reprocessing Area for the Spilt Sugar

All the sugar crystals that are spilt over during the processing are being collected and brought in for reprocessing however this is meant to be stored properly but instead it is deposited on the ground in an unorganized manner that is unhygienic as well. Upon the Visit of the Executive Chairman on Monday (27th of July, 2015) , the soil was spread and thrown over the sugar to avoid it being seen by him and the head office team.

Picture 5 and 6: Sugar being discharged from a Tank Prior to its crystallization

The Supervisors on site, knowing that the pollution pump (shown in Slide 1) is not working, have yet authorized the emptying of the tank which contains sugar, knowing that all this sugar will be discharged directly into the pollution pond hence the sugar will be wasted.