#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: NZ Herald: Colonel's visit a chance to crack regime

Friday, June 17, 2011

NZ Herald: Colonel's visit a chance to crack regime

Many question-marks hover over the visit to New Zealand this week of former Fijian army officer Ratu Tevita Mara. These, however, were never a reason to refuse him entry.

The Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, has acted correctly in granting Lieutenant-Colonel Mara a two-day exemption to the travel ban imposed on him and others linked to Fiji's military regime.

What he says to the media and pro-democracy groups here will be of much interest given that he was until recently a central figure in the dictatorship headed by Frank Bainimarama.

And the information he provides Foreign Affairs officials on the current state of affairs within the regime should be even more enlightening.

Those opposed to Colonel Mara's entry provided two broad reasons. The first was that his participation in the 2006 coup and former status as the regime's third-ranked military officer disqualified him from coming to this country.  That view rejected any possibility that, after being at the very heart of a dictatorship, he could now be genuinely espousing democratic ideals.

The second was that his vision for his country was, in fact, a return to the past when Indo-Fijians were denied a full part in the democratic process.

Those of this view tend to still believe that, a welter of evidence notwithstanding, Commodore Bainimarama still represents the best option for Fiji.

Only Colonel Mara knows how committed he is to a fully democratic country. Allegations that he was associated with human rights abuses, including maltreatment of detainees, will have to be confronted at some stage. To Colonel Mara's credit, he has acknowledged this.

He has also chosen to leave his sanctuary in Tonga for Australia and New Zealand to voice his concerns about the Bainimarama regime, most notably the increasingly dim prospects of the promised democratic elections in 2014. This suggests not only fortitude but a belief in the views he is sharing with pro-democracy groups.

Indeed, much of what Colonel Mara has been saying has the ring of truth. The Fijian army, he has said, "had a strict plan, which was to remove corruption and corrupt politicians and return to barracks within a year".

But power had corrupted the key players in the regime and they had forgotten their original objectives as they desperately clung to power.  In the process, dissent has been progressively squashed, the constitution has been abrogated, the judiciary dismissed, the media suppressed, and the concerns of the international community rejected.

Such, of course, is often the way with military dictatorships. Even those that begin with the best of intentions tend to fall victim to the trappings of power.

As often as not, the catalyst for their demise is discord at the highest level. A split between the key members of the dictatorship broadens irretrievably until the regime collapses.

Colonel Mara, the son of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, Fiji's founding Prime Minister and later President, was very much part of the inner sanctum. It is not known how much his criticism of Commodore Bainimarama was shared by his fellow officers.

But it seems inconceivable that someone of his stature would not have his supporters. Or that resentment about the loss of rights and freedoms and the country's economic stagnation is not gathering pace.

Colonel Mara has driven a wedge into the Fijian dictatorship. In the interests of the restoration of democracy at the earliest opportunity, New Zealand should take every opportunity to force it deeper.

Colonel Mara's visit is a chance not only to do that but to learn much about Commodore Bainimarama's increasingly shaky regime.



Malua said...

excellent editorial. Glad they see the big picture, unlike some so called wanna be political commentators like Croz and Thukurt Singh. Mara coming in to NZ is not an endorsement of his former role in the regime nor his role in human rights abuse. It is simply to drive a wedge deeper and find out from an insider the inside workings of the regime and get evidence of him, as he claims he has.
Hopefully other senior military officers in the regime are following Mara's move and the reception of governments like aust, NZ, Tonga and Samoa, and othere sensible Pacific govts and will consider turning on Baini and his core group of thugs.

convolutedexperiment said...

So far as I know, the word " TREASON " has never been mentioned by Ratu Ului Mara and he has only ever stated that the coup took a wrong turn when Frank and Co. let the power go to their heads.
RUM still seems to think that a coup is justified, in certain circumstances, and this stance, concerns me.
We still don't and may never know, his true motives for turning on the Regime !
Is he doing this because it's the right thing to do, because he is only concerned about his own skin and wants to make recompense to the people of Fiji or because he wishes to maintain or recoup his previous standing in the within the Community ?
I remain sceptical, though supportive, provided his intentions are honourable, sincere and most of all, effective !
Clearly, we have reached a stalemate with Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the Regime, and for the sake of the people of Fiji, something new has to be tried.
The options are more Sanctions, Armed Civil Conflict, Diplomatic Assistance or U.N. Intervention.
It's extremely unlikely that Fiji's problems can be overcome given the present Regime and its stance, unless something dire was to become of Frank, Aiyaz, Pryde, Gates or the Shameem sisters.

Fijians are desperate for a resolution at this point in time and hopefully, RUM's defection may be sufficient o encourage New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. to take the next step.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was Franks idea to get back pay for himself or sombody set him up.
How was this subject broached to Minister of Finanace at the time Mahen, or did he suggest it.
If he had not suggested then I wonder if there was any resistance from him.
Does RUM have anythng to share on the back pay issue. What did the 40 officers have to say about it?
Was there any "questioning" of this decision?
What was RUMs feeling at the moment he recieved this money into his hands?

Anonymous said...

The Fiji problem is a complex one. NZ & Australia dont fully understand the Pacific way concept which in particular translates into the way thing are done.In many ways Bainimarama has been good for Fiji. We have had a reasonabaly long period of stable Gvt. Bainimarama has driven the indigeneous Nationalists & corrupt Indian businessmen from the money temple & corridors of power. On the streets of Suva there are few people who object to his approach. Including ordinary Indo-Fijians. On the other hand, He has not put himself up to face elections. He has crushed free speech & the Press. He has squashed an independent judiciary. He maybe facing serious charges of human rights abuses.Fiji has to sort out its problems ,but frank holding a gun will make this a longish process.

Anonymous said...

Excellent editorial. right to the point! Hopefully Thakur and Nik can learn from this. they are publicity seekers and the sad thing is that they are doing this at an expense of restoring democracy in Fiji. Rokolui has already accepted his wrong doing and has made a public statement that he will face the people of fiji for their verdict. its time to stand up and be counted. lets support him. he is our best hope. March on Ratu!

Tui Viti said...

Ni Bula Niusiladi Vanua Vinaka!!!Thanks NZ Herald, Mr McCully. Hope you'll continue to pepper the NZ public with the truth..OMG, can imagine TRSingh already emailing the Redhead Goebells on their response in tomorrow's Fiji Sun.......

Anonymous said...

"Colonel Mara has driven a wedge into the Fijian dictatorship. In the interests of the restoration of democracy at the earliest opportunity, New Zealand should take every opportunity to force it deeper."

AMEN. 100% AGREED!!! RUM has already achieved in just one short month but all these pro-democracy movements have not be able to do in the past 4.5 years. STAY TUNED! More Coming...

Jieke said...

Anon 9:31

The problem with nitwits like you is labelling the coup as the pacific way. There is nothing pacific about Voreqe's and the military take over of governmnent.

He has maintained an iron grip on power via the PER and that is not stability. He has kicked out certain business people and politicians but is lining up his own pockets in the process.

Most of us would rather have democracy than your brand of stability.

Anonymous said...

@9:41 AM. "he is our best hope." Amen. HE CERTAINLY IS! And he's going to succeed in his mission.

Not convinced said...

NZ is being terribly ambitious and rash with its welcome mat for Mara. The fact he is a 'Mara' is no doubt part of the attraction. I doubt if poor Driti (sorry Driti) would've got the same warm, reception.

Anonymous said...

lets not confuse now. for what we know no matter what everyone says . but our regime government are illegal.n we can't afforts to loose lifes in this time.lets move moved forward for da democracy government likes others countrys.n it's gonna be legal.thumbs up for democracy. n god bless fiji.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:31

Whats so complex of Fiji's situation that Aus and NZ can't understand? It's not rocket science to figure out that its evil to beat up those who voice their honest opinions....oh let me guess that's the pacific way you're referring to...ummm

This article is very true. It takes a small crack to split a huge ice-berg and Mara is the first significant crack on the regime.....tamani kaca rau!

Anonymous said...

No one is perfect.
RokoLui wants Democracy. We want Democracy, so lets support him.
I mean, what is the alternative?
Does Nik Naidu know the Top Secrets of the Military Council?
So why is he trying to stop RokoLui from revealing it.
RokoLui is not the "be all and end all" but he is an important cog in the wheel.
We must support him and bring down the regime.
Dictators never last. Look at Suharto, Mubarak, Idi Amin.
Voreqe will never last.
His son Meli will die with him.
We will win.
Because we fight from a position of Victory.

2 Things:
1) Lets keep lobbying the UN to sack Fijian soldiers under its employment and send them all home.
2) Lets inform the common people in the villages what the illegal government is doing to their lives. How it has raped the Economy and rack up huge foreign debts and the loss of FNPF
and but they pocket big money for themselves and their friends illegally.
That the illegal regime is like a "yavato", slowly eating the beautiful big tree from inside; and one day the beautiful big tree (Fiji) will come crashing down; if we do nothing.

-Valataka na Dina.

Anonymous said...

on the backpay, i am a finance ministry officer and the minister then chaudhry had referred this matter to the auditor general but aiyaz in the meantime overode chaudhry and authorised payment to frank on back pay and i have copy of letter by aiyaz overriding chaudhry.

Anonymous said...

this is the only media that keeps us in Fiji updated with news.Our news is censored and all in Fiji at times forget that what ever we reading has been through the goons media no school guys.Can the news media mention on front pages that WE ARE CENSORED and so we all can grasp the reality.News we ger is bull shit,few rape stories,court stories,Bainitour Maramas fancyfull journeys and world news.Main culprits that suck to the regime are FIJI SUN,SANDEEP GET A LIFE,RADIO FIJI,RIYAZ KHAIUM BROTHERS CIA AGENT..I feel advertisers should stop support to this to media and even stop listning or reading them. All reader of this blog please print stories and pass on to Fiji Wellwishers .Its gloom and doom in Fiji ,bussiness at its worst,ask the shop owners in Suva,the first sale is done at 11am and after.No construction since comm comm dog Mahend Reddy put the higher prices instead of lowering it.He Mahend is not entitlied to be called DOC instead for me he is DOG .People dying by neglect of health care,NIEL SHARMA you are being cursed by sick and dying people of Fiji for closing CWM and bullshitting that all is well .You will die outside SPCA. No ashma medication no diabetic medication,no kids paediatric doctors,no feeding tubes,no sheets,no pillows,what the F .Patients have to bring this from home.You have taken the medical care 20 years back,and once you finish from here you got ABORTION cases pending,maybe Aiyaz can defend you .

Anonymous said...

Vinaka kai,good review on Fiji News Media.Dont forget another CIA in Fiji Ajit Kokoda(thats how you spell) as i am not sure but he is the magic man at FNPF as he is well looked after by AG and Cj patel . look AT cj TAX MATTERS too hot to touch and all ar Firca off load it like hot potato. Vina NALIN PATEL OF G LAL, and NUR BANO MRS SUNIL BAI was talking to you when he mentioned no ethics accountants who are blemishing names of some good credible accountants

Anonymous said...

well said anon on Fiji News,we DO not get all the bad and gloomy and truth,our population is fed with BAIBULLSHIT

ASK said...

It is a commonly used strategy of the international community to encourage defection of members of oppressive dictatorships. While everyone participating in such regimes has to accept a certain degree of guilt, a defector always raises hope that an evil regime can be removed without human casualties. Recently, we have seen this in Libya and Yemen and we will see it again.

So far the public has not heard anything new or truly critical from Ratu Mara. His statements essentially reflect what we could read on blogs like 4.5 for quite some time. That has been a bit disappointing for he has been at the core of the junta from 2006 until now. But there are good reasons to believe that Mara's insights are shared with the governments of New Zealand and Australia for maximum effect on the Fijian dictatorship. After all, he is a senior military man who knows a few things about strategy and tactics.

Anonymous said...

Lots of talk on this website please continue to do NOTHING. Have some more meetings, and meetings about the meetings and plan the next meeting. Road blocks started again. FBI running a training session this weekend for Fiji police and armed forces. Thank you USA.
Australias human rights violations under the spotlight. Life goes on.

Anonymous said...

Situation on the ground (normal).There have been allegations on RUM flying around in the local media.Which begs the questions .Is his intentions geniune ?
This government is as normal as is.
Public is not being moved.
Any suggestions?

convolutedexperiment said...

@ anon 1030 a.m.
Send it to coup 4.5 then !
Their email address is @ the top left of their webpage !

Anonymous said...

Naidu and Singh should just concentrate on getting rid of the Dictator and his current henchmen and woman. Argue about all the other stuff after the Tyrant has gone. One step at a time and one giant leap to democratic elections.

Mafia...USA said...

For those of you who are defending the Illegal regime, you must be crazy and am sorry to say that you ahve the same arogant mindset as Baini Marama...
If the Samoana PM is able to say what he has said about Fiji, I dont understand what these ppl who are defending the illegal regime have in mind. I think they need to look at themselves again and do a self search...
The Samoan Pm sums up everything that is happening in Fiji and I believe he understands more of what is going in Fiji than those in fiji who are defending the Illegal Regime.
It is sad that some ppl in Fiji are just looking at themselves and not looking at things outside the picture and look at the long term disadvantage of this arrogant man, Baini Marama...
For thise of you who are supporting Baini Marama...it is sad to say that he will end up in Naboro and you will have to help the unspoken poor Fijians in trying to help paying the enormous loans he has borrowed from China.
Now the Russians are coming and Fiji and the Pacific are going to be in dangerous situation with the infiltration of the Russian Mafia...who has to blame...Baini Marama and his cohorts....
They will mine the country and take all the raw materials to their homeland..They will not only find Bauxite on the soil that they will take overseas..they will find other minerals but the money paid was for Bauxite only.
The same happened in Bouganville. Australia shipped all the soil or raw materials from the mine to Australia where they are processed. When the Bouganvillians found out that there is more than just copper found after the processings, they close the mine in Bouganville and that was why there was a lot of fighting in Bouganville and they were isolated...
With the look North Policy that the stupid Illegal PM and his Master the illegal AG have implemented, Fiji will suffer more.
So sad...
Thumbs up to Democracy...Freedom Fighters,,speed up the fight for freedom...Fiji is going down the drain with these ppl...they are robbing our country with our Freedom and our resources....Wake Up FIJI!!!!!!

Tui Viti said...

This government is as normal as possible........with the PM paying himself a back pay first $150K+ & a $750K salary circumventing the financial system. His boys go on a killing spree including his brother-in-law, They got to prison for a few weeks (on full Pay) come back out and resume their postings. What a great normal life we have here in Fiji!!!!

Anonymous said...

vinaka ....thats why YP the crook has been given licence to defraud for an annual fee of $3m to Frank...haha cleanup or cover up.
more to come mates........

Anonymous said...

@ Mafia USA
Mafias already exists in Fiji brother. Triads, Italian Mafia for sure. You sound very insecure and scared little man. Why don't you take a cold shower. So is the Japaneese Yakuza here too because of Japanese aid and interest?? Its very people like you inciting unrest in Fiji. You wonder why the PER remains enforced. We can't risk another burning of Suva or rampaging crowds urged by false claims. Rest assured the army stands ready to deal with you properly. Fiji is awake. Awake to its corrupt past. You gang overseas have no idea what is happening here. Enjoy your lives in exile and forget about coming back.

Bag Mara said...

Second nauseating editorial to emerge from New Zealand hailing the roots of one Uluilakeba Mara. Colonialists seem enamoured with Mara just because because he is a Mara, forgetting his hands are covered in blood and all prepared to overlook his crimes because he was in the 'inner sanctum' and knows things. Wjat does mara know? That his time was up with the RFMF and he better run off to Tonga! NZ and Australia willing to sell out true democracy for a peep inside the dirty laundry bag on Bainimarama and to let Bag Man Mara get away with it.

Radiolucas said...

@ Anon 3:06pm

"Mafias already exists in Fiji brother. Triads, Italian Mafia for sure."
- So you are saying that the PER is there to protect everyone from the Chinese, Japanese and Italians? I think you better go ask for some stronger medication - what you are taking clearly isn't enough.

"We can't risk another burning of Suva or rampaging crowds urged by false claims. Rest assured the army stands ready to deal with you properly."
- There is no risk to you my friend - I am sure that no rampaging crowds will come visit you in St Giles.

Suffice to say that I know you are wrong and whatever your nefarious reason for your opinion, you know as well as I do that a tyrant always fears the people he oppresses - because he knows that one day people will rise to strike off the shackles he has made for them.

More importantly, we should be looking to what we are going to do to prevent the Frank Bainimaram experience from happening again - we have to plan to focus on education, equality and involving all parts of society in our government.

Anonymous said...

Russian mafia stealing bauxite with other minerals? They are too late, China Triads have started already in Bua - everything is loaded up for processing in China Believe there is silver there and gold too, but only paying for bauxite.
Thou shall not covert your neighbours Voreqe!

"VENGEANCE IS MINE and I will repay", says the Lord.

Anonymous said...

If everyone loves Bainimarama how come the regime is scared of rampaging crowds if PER is lifted?
To the green goons commenting in this forum: It is better to stay quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Anonymous said...

Nazhat Shameem at the HIV AIDS gathering today 16/06/2011; ..."Is not what the law looks like but what it works out to be..."

No wonder the performance of our Judicial System is questionable for the Judges and Magistrates can intepret thwm any way they like. I an situation as this, Roko Ului has no chance of winning his case, so as Pita Driti..

As for AG Sayed Khaiyum, he does not get tired of flogging a dead horse. Who are you trying to hoodwink?

The public locally and overseas know that you control and manipulate the Fiji Judicial System and all the Magistrates are in your pocket.



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

AGs instruction to AJIT today that No news to be published about rugby and Mara in the papers I MEAN FIJI SUN.
from sec C J Patel
by the way Patel senior is sick in sydney

Anonymous said...

Well done nz. Driti wants to get in as well. With all the defactor Fiji will not have any more coups. Nz will,,,,

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 5:24pm

You sound like on of those involved and organising in the burning and looting of Suva. Filling trolleys with Fiji Bitter, Flat Screens TVS, stolen goods.Block head!! You can forget about any public marches now. Looks like you are prepared to go down that same road of destruction in the name of DEMOCRACY. Take the first step and see whats coming for you.

Concerned person said...

It's all a surprise for me to see that TUM is now an advocate for democracy. Good on him!!! What we'd like to know is if his intentions are so genuine, why didn't he oppose the initial takeover plans prior to 2006. Any rightful thinking person would surely have raised his concerns during those meetings of the Military Council prior to the takeover and since he mentions that he was part of the inner sanctum, he should have raised the issue then, making a stand when it did matter or honorably removed himself from the picture.
I'm sure Bainimarama gave everyone a choice of whether to take part or not and those that didn't were respected for their views. A relative in the army confirmed this and that relative is still a serving member of the RFMF. The relative also confirmed that he was not victimized for openly indicating his intentions, in that he did not want to be part of the takeover. However, the relative is only a foot soldier and would not have had any influence on the decision making process of the higher echelons. TUM did have influence as he was part of the inner sanctum and also commanded the elite online infantry unit known as the Third Battalion. I'm sure TUM's views would have been noted and followed as he played a major role in commanding the army's top notch unit who would be spearheading the takeover.
Why did TUM not nip the problem in bud, is the question I would like for him to answer to the people. The reason I mention this is because I think TUM also benefited from the takeover in terms of financial gain. An earlier commentator on this site highlighted the Mara family loans from financial institutions which exceeded six figures. We must ask ourselves how was this possible, and the notable answer would be that TUM was at a position where he was able to facilitate these loans thus also "filling his own pockets" and that of his siblings.TUM mentions that Bainimarama and Khaiyum are the ones doing this, yet his actions during his term in office totally contradicts his statements.
TUM has a lot of work to do before we the people are sure of his intentions, be it noble or otherwise. Vinaka vakalevu.

Sotia said...

if Aussie and NZ allows Ului into their country and they will be a bunch of looses....giving up a small Military like Fiji..Ului was a soldier of high rank who gave orders in 2006/2007/2008 and the two countries have been defeated by the Fiji Military....