By Jone Baledrokadroka
Emperor Napoleon met his defeat at Waterloo. The victory of the Duke of Wellington and Prussian forces at this decisive battle heralded the end to the tyrant's rule.
In Fiji, the victory of Christian forces at the battle of Kaba can be said to mirror the battle of Waterloo in the course of history. Both 19th Century battles shaped modern politics in Fiji and the western world, respectively.
At Kaba in 1855, King George of Tonga’s forces aided the vunivalu of Bau Ratu Seru Cakobau’s forces and soundly defeated rebels sending the rest fleeing through the mangroves.
A modern Kaba type showdown is looming. History repeating itself. As at the battle of Kaba, once close allies have bizarrely aligned their forces against each other in the past week. Unfortunately, for Fiji more instability seems to be on the horizon and have been heard in recent days from within the regime.
The old Tonga-Baun elite have again aligned against the sick ‘Napoleon’ from across the Kaba point in Kiuva and his core of military officers and brain, Aiyaz Khaiyum, struggle for power that began with Police Commissioner Esala Teleni’s resignation and the taking of ‘leave’ of Lt Col Rokolui Mara and Brigadier Pita Driti is coming to a head.
The split in military ranks in the past week have been shown with an $8 million military budget increase going $6.1 million to the Navy and $1.9 million to the Army.
Some have, judging by the direction of the wind, changed tack, Ratu Epeli Ganilau of note. Perhaps blood is thicker than his best mate and dictator’s promises it seems.
Soldiers from Naitasiri and Tailevu – the last traditional warrior resort of old - have been bought off by promotions to prop up the ailing dictator and his crumbling regime.
President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, like his great ancestors at the battle of Kaba, literally has the future of Fiji in the palm of his right hand. His chiefly royal blood, military forbearance and hopefully statesmanship will be tested over the coming week.
The big question then is, will our ailing dictator meet his Waterloo by Christmas? Or to paraphrase, will he meet his Kaba before Kirisimasi namaki?
Ironically, with history being made by Tonga’s first liberal democratic elections this week, an iliberal zombie of a nation will be hoping the Tonga-Baun alliance prevails.
An old alliance that gave Fiji, Christmas may well shepherd the nation back to democracy.