By Jone Baledrokadroka
Two of the finest Aussie beers enjoyed by many are the old Victoria Bitter and the Great Carltons Cold. For the politically thirsty, hopefully, this Christmas a new premium VB /GCC concoction after four years in fermentation is soon to be announced.
This after a bad bout of our local rising - jack homebrew mixed with Vorege and our Ratus in the last hoorah.
So now, can this off-again-on-again relationship with the Great Council of Chiefs break the present political and economic gridlock created by Voreqe Bainimarama (VB) and his military regime? Yes, of course, such is Fijian politics!
Political theorist Max Weber’s analysis of legitimacy emphasizes that limits are built in each type of regime and that the transformation of regimes beyond them is a source of their deligitimation and their ultimate breakdown.
Four years after the military coup, the limitations of the military regime has become quite obvious by its unabashed machinations for local and international legitimacy. The regime now understands, it needs the two powerful indigenous Fijian institutions - the GCC and the Methodist Church - for support and legitimatizing of its rule to survive. Its Indo-Fijian main support has totally vanished.
International actors will follow suit once local democratic authentication by the GCC is restored. The GCC’s legitimate political imprimateur is also legally constitutional.
Should the GCC sit as mediator, what are the legitimate factors that may bestow local and international political legitimacy on the regime in a transition back to democracy?
Political scientists, Linz and Stepan (1996:88) in studying, the crisis, breakdown and restoration of democratic states lays out the conditions:
1) The first would seem to be the availability of a leadership uncompromised by the loss of efficacy and legitimacy of the existing regime in crisis and committed to the creation of a new regime with new institutions to be legitimated by future democratic procedures.
2) That leadership must be able to gain the acceptance of those who remained loyal to the existing regime as well as those who opted for disloyalty in crisis and therefore are potential supporters of a non-democratic regime.
3) The leadership of the regime that has lost power, efficacy, effectiveness, and probably considerable legitimacy must be able to accept that fact and facilitate, rather than oppose the transfer of power.
4) The willingness of the former leadership, with its commitment to certain policy goals, ideologies, and interests to subordinate the realization of these goals in order to save the substance of democracy. And finally, a general contributing condition.
5) A certain level of indifference and passivity in the bulk of the population must exist during the final denouement of the crisis.
As with the fifth point, I believe the time is ripe in as far as the sullen people is concerned, given the economic mess the country is in.
The unique constellation of the five conditions may now be thrashed out by the GCC mediator(s). This can then be localized by other conditions to suit the Fiji situation without compromising the four critical conditions logic as laid out. Cheers all.
Editor's Note: And Coupfourpointfive salutes everyone who has contributed to trying find a way forward for Fiji, bitter and groggy though the debate has been at times.
To our readers in every corner of the world, from the Pacific to Asia, Africa, Europe and America - Wishing you all a safe Christmas and Happy New Year!