#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Is Bainimarama looking to follow Suharto's disastrous 'New Order'?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is Bainimarama looking to follow Suharto's disastrous 'New Order'?

SUHARTO: Came unstuck after trying to distance himself from the old regime.
By Jone Baledrokadroka
Where are we heading? 

The military regime’s policy to emasculate the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), the Methodist Church, the Municipal Councils and now the unions and at the same time blatantly militarize government has ploughed ahead unabated.

All the while it brazenly courts the ignorant rural mass with development made possible by non-transparent debt laden funding.

After almost five years in power Bainimarama’s belief that military rule as decreed can ensure the maintenance of political stability needed for economic development is ever so questionable even with his pro-coup social justice advocates.

In addition, there is now growing cynicism about the regimes anti-corruption drive and judicial independence with the revelations of FICAC’s sacked prosecutor Madhawa Tenakoon.

Poverty is at an all time high and economic growth is pitiful with a dubious resource extraction industry - the promised economic panacea of the ‘new order’.

It seems to assuage public doubts before the 2014 elections the regime has embarked on a final path to consolidate its ‘new order’ by destroying the unions notwithstanding Aiyaz Khaiyum’s unabashed duplicitous rhetoric.

Hence the future scenario post 2014 elections of a Fiji ruled by a dictator aided by a dominant single party state system akin to Indonesia’s Golkar party of the Suharto era is mooted.

The opening of a Fiji embassy this year in Jakarta next door to Fiji’s high commission in Malaysia has probably stiffened Bainimarama’s resolve to seriously consider this past political experiment. History, however, shows the ‘new order’ misadventure badly corrupted the Indonesian military and sent that country to bankruptcy culminating in the fall of Suharto’s regime in 1998.

General Surhato, in tightening his grip on power turned the Army backed Golkar party (which portrayed itself as a non-ideological entity) into an electoral machine to spearhead his ‘new order’. Seeking to distance himself from the old regime and the other political parties, Suharto settled on this so-called ‘party of functional groups’ dominated by the Army.

Golkar also began identifying itself with the government, encouraging civil servants to vote for it as a sign of loyalty to the government. In addition all unions were united into a single body answerable to the state. 

The Bainimarama/Khaiyum regime is doing exactly the same with the military the only means to this end.

The population was no longer there to be mobilized by political parties; rather, the people were the 'floating mass', who needed firm guidance so they would not be lured into politics. A similar brainwashing process is underway in Fiji aided and underpinned by Khaiyum’s seriously flawed masters thesis.

Should Fiji go to elections in 2014 it should be under a reformed common roll in an open list PR system. Both pro and anti- regime election reformers agree such an electoral reform is warranted. Though a closed list PR system may be favoured by the regime in its desire for complete central control and dominance of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

As Bainimarama will want to remain in power he will need to form an electoral machine such as Golkar to give it ‘democratic legitimacy’. To eliminate all political competition various decrees including the recent  Essential Industry Decree against the union body is critical to the Bainimarama/ Khaiyum regimes longevity quest. Electronic voting may even add to the creation of such an electoral party machine.

The Fiji military also had been giving close thought to this pre-1998 Indonesian ‘new order’ model of government even prior to the 2006 coup. The military leadership saw itself as committed to modernization and development while it viewed the political parties as standing for sectional interests inimical to national goals. Bainimarama’s rural tours rhetoric in the vernacular often reinforces this point. More so Khaiyum’s ‘sunset clause’ in his thesis has also gelled with Bainimarama’s new found ethno-nationalism.

Why purge the unions? The labour unions since the formation of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) in 1985 have made up the backbone of its political following.  Former Prime Minister Dr Timoci Bavadra was once president of the Fiji Public Services Association that hatched the FLP and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudrhy the secretary of the National Farmers Union. More so in silencing the unions the regime silences the urban masses and more importantly the growing urban middle class so necessary for liberal democracy.

The FLP has also become the mainstream Indo Fijian party in the recent past.

Why purge the GCC and the Methodist Church?  The association of the Methodist Church and the Vanua through the GCC with mainstream Fijian political parties headed by Prime Ministers Rabuka and Qarase is the bed rock of indigenous political support.

For example traditional confederacy heads; Adi Samanunu Talakuli, Ro Temumu Kepa and Ratu Naigama Lalabalavu and former Methodist Church Vice President Ratu Meli Saukuru were prominent members of the last Qarase government. Hence in silencing these traditional Fijian institutions the regime silences the indigenous masses.

So according to the Bainimarama/Khaiyum’s new order concept, the mass of the people would be floating voters permitted to express their political preferences in general elections once every five years.  Between elections they would have no political role and therefore in theory would be able to devote all their efforts to economic development.

As for the present political parties unable to organize their supporters in the rural and urban areas, the parties would wither away. In place of the political parties it is hoped will be the formation of new civilian organizations recruited from members of the younger generation. As with Golkar and with the Fiji regimes proposed political party it will then rely on local government administration and the military to mobilize its votes over and over again.

More so the Indonesian Army was able to spread its political power through its ‘territorial warfare doctrine’ by integrating itself with the people. The Fiji military in its ‘military for life’ concept of 2004 also has a similar doctrine given its huge rural and urban based reservist soldiers also on call for overseas peacekeeping duties. Indeed for every thousand population there are 10.1 soldiers. (see table) Easily given Fiji’s small close knit society, it is well feasible for the military to form a vast political network if it hasn’t already begun to do so. Further overburdening tax payers.

The appointing of military officers as government’s four divisional commissioners to integrate their divisions administration with the military’s territorial doctrine is not coincidental and lays the platform for a Golkar such party to be formed in the near future. To guarantee his longevity as dictator Bainimarama has to form a Golkar like party.

This is another grand illusion in an already failed ‘clean up’ campaign which is doing more damage to our society that is heavily laden with social mistrust and poverty. A quick return to liberal democracy is the way forward. 

Otherwise all the institutions of local and national governance that has evolved over our short history so necessary for a healthy and vibrant democracy are not strengthened over time and a whole generation is the poorer. The military unfortunately as in 1987 and 2000 remains the manipulated means for the present regime elite to stay in power.


Anonymous said...

capt singh.mahen reddy,biman,krishna datt and eroni .already working on forming the new party called national congress.
so people of fiji dont vote these idiots.
now they want to control the church/gcc.
time to shoot these idiots for treason.

Exterminate Dictators said...

Khaiyum and Bainimarama are enemies of the state, and as such they and their families are fair game. As we have seen with the arrest of Gaddafi's son today, and the arrest of the Mubarak family for their crimes against the Egyptian people, wherever parasitic dictators arise, their heads must be cut off. As the Hitler of the Pacific, Bainimarama and his terrorist henchman khaiyum, must be destroyed.

Anonymous said...

Whilst i agree with the figures quoted in the stats with regards the number of persons in the Army per 1000 poupulation in Fiji against other countries-your quoted comprison model lacks certain facts that need to be hightlighted or else things can be taken out of context.
1.Aussie & NZ are the only 2 develeoped countries in the Region. A beter figure would be to quote the actual numbers-ie the total number of personnel in the Military for these two countries as their population runs into the millions.

2.Aussie & NZ are countries that have a highly mechanised military system meaning they can have a reduced number of personnel because mechanism are in play to cater for lesser nunmbers of people.Which is already part of the Military expansion plans-reduce the numbers increase the equipment! ie Computerised military hardware. This is also possible because of the backup & support from Navy & Air force.

3.If my memory serves me correctly Pakistan has the largest number of population of all the countries listed and is the only country that is presently in a state of conflict with its neighbours eg Afghanistan insugencies & Indian conflict. Aussie & NZ are not in the same boat.
4. Nepals figures whilst low -still requires one to ask the question does the figure represent the numbers of Gurkhas who serve in the British Army and also the Gurkha Regiment in India?

4. The resaon why PNG has such a low number is because the people there do no see joining the military as some work of relevance!

5. The figures for Fiji do they include soldiers who also serve in the British Army?

At the end of the day i still stand by my argument that if we spent more money on a countrys problems than the Armed Forces we could easily solve a hell of a lot of humanities problems. Killing has never solved our problems-if it did we would be all living in a safer world.

There were more bombs dropped on Vietnam, by the USA war machine than the total Allied Forces bombing during WW1 & World War 2 put togetther now that is food for thought! DRi Yani

Fiji Mandate said...

the rural masses have unfortunately been bought.

they will have to be woken up to the reality of bainimarama and kkaiyum's deceit.

Fiji Mandate said...

ps what are we doing anyway about preparing for the fiji elections...if and when they come? have we identified leaders and political parties??

Savedictators said...

Colonel Gaddafi has applied for asylum in Fiji! He has promised Khaiyum and his aunt half of his loot if he can come and work for the FMF. He has suggested to teach Bainimarama how to deal with opposition that comes out fighting.

Anonymous said...

JB says pro and anti regime both agree to change electoral system.

And who would they be? Can you name them please. Who gave them mandate to agree or disagree for that matter?

Did Peoples Coalition Govt in 1999 led by FLP make constituency based policies or policies to favour individual electoral boundaries?

Where is the evidence that communal one man one vote MP's do not make national based policies? what evidence is there to claim that for the lawful democratic govt in 1999?

Was it not that SDL campaigned to enter parliament to defy the constitution. And are you talking about these anti regime supporters that want electoral voting system changed because it meets their manifesto of 2001?

ANY changes to the lawful system can no longer be changed without parliament period...and that too the review period of the constitution is over. It was done, revised under its provision.

NO political party proposed any change to electoral system and test with votes.

Now NO PARTY has any mandate to claim to be leaders as their leadership has lapsed.

Are those who support changes to electoral system also support to waiver any criminal investigations against Frank?

Why one set of unlawful policy is o.k. which is treason, and one set that claims murder when the "State was under seize" and war declared by rebels... for friendly fire in the act of terrorism which was first of its kind in Fiji be not regarded as death in the course of duty as error of judgement.

This too much double faced self interest is what has left Frank glued to the chair as when the unlawful act suits them, it is o.k.

Remember...GCC passed resolution in their meeting that LAW MUST BE FOLLOWED AT ALL TIMES.

By being chief's o ex politicians does not give anyone mandate to make any suggestions of any changes, period.

Or join hands with the junta FAST and go ahead and defy the GCC's resolution!

IF any changes are necessary, then all should asgree to enter a political solution on everything and not just some police files to be kept open for the rany day.

This includes FREE GEORGE SPEIGHT as that was also political and HE did not create the mindset to start the coups. He opposed the 1987 coup when most of you were part of it!

Because no sides are bald enough to talking my language and that is why there is no win situation for anyone.

Maybe Kaiym should be replaced by me and I can deliver for all sides fast...and free all political prisoners at the same time and make peace with the Vanua.

Sa Sucu Sa Lutu...

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 1:21 PM. On that front ,the Samoan PM advised that to Pacific Islanders in villages,as long as there's abundance of food in the teitei and sasalu from the sea and rivers they rely on; the propaganda will be of minimal effect to most of them....let's focus on the issue of the duty bestowed upon the Trade Unions to utilize the resources available to them wisely to achieve maximum impact on this illegal Govt .

Anonymous said...


Qaddafi was just seen at Nadi International! Reportedly en route to Turtle Island. Khaiyum is with him. So is the Ukrainian nurse. One or the other will share his tent tonight.

Interesting scenes from Tripoli's Green Square. Wonder how many people Ratu Sikuna Park will hold?

Anonymous said...


Qaddafi was just seen at Nadi International! Reportedly en route to Turtle Island. Khaiyum is with him. So is the Ukrainian nurse. One or the other will share his tent tonight.

Interesting scenes from Tripoli's Green Square. Wonder how many people Ratu Sikuna Park will hold?

FijianTalk said...

Yes, I've heard about the Colonel Gaddafi story too. Apparently it's true, but Gaddafi wants two conditions before he parts with his loot, that he be promoted to the rank of General so that he won't have to salute Bainimarama every time they pass by the toilet! The second, that he be allowed to bed Sharon Jones every second week.

kua ni tonia na madrai said...

Bainimarama learnt well from his predecessor... and has bought the rural masses with gifts.

The root of the problem is Fijian leadership cares so little about education.

The plebians in the villages are kept uneducated, for only then can they be kept in subservience by their leaders telling them who to vote for in exchange for gifts.

In the 1700's it was with matches, muskets, scissors and cloth... and now, with roads, bridges, electricity etc.

Chiefs can't be chiefs to educated people, so they have to keep them uneducated.

By "Chiefs" I mean all leaders, whether traditional chiefs, religious leaders, political parties, etc.

Anonymous said...

@2:58 PM. very well then, they haven't done a very good job, have they? Check out how the villagers live, and have been living.... leaves much to be desired. The problem is that Fijian people as a general rule, from top to bottom, don't know the meaning of money, and only know how to spend it once they have it.

Anonymous said...

@2:58 PM. Your little theory falls flat on its face.

NS=ASK=JVB said...

It is really frightening to note how people intepret issues, use situations as this to show-case their minute miniscule sense of perception and do not give a damn about how critical the issues on hand are.

While all these pseudonamed individuals above are as scared shitless as the way they thought and wrte for this column, their contributions reflect how foolhardy, reckless, thoughtless and most important of all, helpless they are.

Come on; be of courage and write something fruitful...LAMUSOMA

Anonymous said...

It is nice reading the blog. Lots of opinions and suggestions. But NO action. It is nice to say this and that but what do the writers suggest the people do to counter-act what is going on. we've heard about the so-called protest at Sukuna Park but nothing has happened because the organisers dont havr the guts and couage themselves to stand up in front of all that reads the blog and say 'this is me'. i'm ready to fight this regime. People dont support 'ghosts'..period. whoever you are, if you say the people of fiji must muster together and protest against this regime, then YOU must be the one to lead the pack. DONT HIDE BEHIND THE 'SMOKE SCREEN' like the regime.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again, this author assuming that iTaukei institutions like the GCC and Fijian Methodism represent ALL FIjians. Sorry, they only represent the elite - remember the Fijian Holdings saga of the 1990s where elite Fijians used affirmative action in the name of the iTaukei. And,we all know where those millions ended up instead. A case in point, does anyone miss the disestablished GCC? No because it was never traditional. Sa rauta mada na veilasutaki tiko. Baleta na vua ni lasu e sa vakaraitaki koya saratuga qo vei keda na iTaukei. Era sa basu lawa na turaga vata kei ira na i talatala ni lotu Va Karisito ena butako, kucu. Sa tu na da!

Verebau. said...

Major flaws in this is that Vore is not Suharto & Indonesia is not Viti - Suharto's creation also enjoyed widespread popular support - right uptil the wheels started falling off.

No comparison - Vore's gang are little more than common no school thieves.

Vanua. said...

@ kua ni tonia na madrai.

"Chiefs can't be chiefs to educated people"?

Name Ratu Joni ring any bells?

Anonymous said...

@Verebau. Thank you for clarifying the difference. No comparison. How can you compare? Suharto would be quite pissed.

Anonymous said...

There will be NO
elections for Fiji until dictator Bainimarama and his Henchmen are in Jail.

kiwilad said...

Much of what JB says has merit. If Baini & his cohorts from the armed forces can control all the government arms & institutions & simultaneously keep the villagers happy thru bribes then they wont need to call any elections. Moreover, by cutting the balls of the unions & outlawing all political parties his party will be the ONLY ONE in power.
He has won half the battle, he just has to survive another 5 years & then he will have full control. The only way he can be removed is a split amongst the armed forces; that is not likely to happen soon as most of the goons are well fed & taken care of.

long loaf said...

@Anon 7:02 PM
Ratu Joni is an example of a great leader who has achieved great things and is respected for them. People love him for the man he is, not because he inherited a title at birth.

Throw away his title, and he is still a great statesman.

Educated people think rationally and can come to informed conclusions. If you live in a rural area, you know how easy it is to control people simply by controlling the media.

Back in the SDL days, I remember sitting around the radio listening to Fijian talk shows. If a few people called up the show and said they disliked so and so politician because they did so and so thing... everyone around me would by the end of the show also dislike this politician for the reasons stated by those callers.

An educated mind would know that everything he had heard was hearsay... just opinions with no proof behind them.

Keep the people stupid, and you can mold them like plastacine into whatever shape you want.

Fiji Mandate said...

Anon@6.17pm. It will take all sectors to work together, including the 'GCC' to get rid of the regime. But that's not something those who support this unelected government want is it?

Anonymous said...

We can also take lessons from Libya...points of diffference for sure but listen to the news this morning to hear that Gadaffi regime is coming down at last!

Anonymous said...

we don't need too much smart talk anymore.We need people who have guts to take on this regime

Verebau. said...

@ Anon 9:47.

Like lovo's popular uprising require both time & patience - both begin with insignificant single sparks.

When the Taukei eventually decide Vore will go - go he will.

Anonymous said...

If or when your favorite game in your youth was creating clothes for your toys as well as creating creative changes in your very own apparel, then I think
people such as you are absolutely those which are destined to become a fashion designer.
Indeed, Roberto Cavalli has drawn its own spot as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after Italian fashion brands.
Being a model requires more than just being a pretty face.

My website ... bodycon dresses plus size