#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: A Gift from the Commander:a coup leader attempts to show a softer sider

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Gift from the Commander:a coup leader attempts to show a softer sider

STAND DOWN FRANK: Some way still has to be found to ease Bainimarama out of power and to rein in Fiji’s too-powerful army. pic The Economist


FIJI’S military commander and prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, promises that martial law will be lifted on January 7th, and that consultations on a new constitution will begin in February. The announcement from the troubled islands was welcomed by the Commonwealth, of which Fiji is a wayward member, and by Australia, its biggest neighbour. The Commonwealth secretary-general, Kamalesh Sharma, said that lifting public-emergency regulations was “long overdue”, and called for a fresh election. 

Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, said it was a “first step”, but that democracy had to be restored. Both are right to be cautious.

Martial law was first introduced after Mr Bainimarama seized power in December 2006. It was lifted the following May, but then reimposed in September 2007 to head off protests by public-sector unions, traditional chiefs and leaders of the Methodist church. 

Since April 2009, when the country’s constitution was abrogated, martial law has been a permanent fixture. Mr Bainimarama has ruled by decree, putting in place draconian media and other laws that will permit continued censorship and harassment of the government’s opponents even after martial law is lifted.
So far, there is little indication that the government intends to go easier on its opponents. Over the new-year weekend, several prominent politicians were arrested for “urging political violence”—rumoured to be for helping to foment protest against a new mining development in the interior of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu.

Ending martial law is consistent with Mr Bainimarama’s promise in July 2009 to hold a new election by September 2014. He also promised that consultations towards a new constitution would begin next year. For those to take place, he acknowledges, controls on press freedoms and public meetings need to be removed.

Yet this would not be the first such exercise. In 2008 a National Council for Building a Better Fiji involved mainly cherry-picked regime supporters. In 2009 a Political Dialogue Forum was at first intended to include the political parties, but it ended up excluding even those that had once sympathised with the Commander’s coup. So the Commonwealth’s Mr Sharma has good reason for insisting that February’s consultations need to be “fully inclusive”, aimed at “a genuine national consensus on the constitution, clearing the way for credible elections”.

Mr Bainimarama’s latest announcement comes after a relatively quiet year in Fiji. The main dark cloud has been the harassment of trade unions, in the form of arbitrary arrests and restrictions on workers’ rights in “essential industries”. Gone, however, are the rifts between 2007 and 2010, when a succession of high-profile politicians and army officers broke away to join the opposition. 

Acquiescence, submission and simple coup-weariness seem to have set in among Mr Bainimarama’s opponents.

What is more, after a severe slump between 2007 and 2009 the economy has fared better, helped by an inflow of Australian tourists to Fiji’s sun-soaked resorts. Soft loans from Beijing have financed key infrastructure projects, helping to position Chinese companies for expansion into other sectors, including bauxite mining. Concerned about a loss of regional influence, Australia has just relaxed its tough stance towards the island-state, announcing that it would double bilateral aid, to A$36m ($37m) in 2013-14. Most of the money will go towards health, education and helping to alleviate poverty.

So Mr Bainimarama has good reason to feel more secure, and to grab the opportunity to obtain greater acceptance for his coup-spawned government both at home and abroad. Yet there are grounds for thinking that, with luck, things may not all go his way. In Fiji, constitutional-reform processes following its all-too-frequent coups have a habit of developing a momentum of their own as they seek to obtain a broad degree of legitimacy.

That is what happened in Fiji a decade after a coup in 1987. Contrary to expectations, a new constitution that emerged from the long consultation process dealt with many of the grievances of the minority Indian population in Fiji. So even if the early stages look heavily compromised this time round, as they did the last time, the final result might prove broadly acceptable. But for that to happen, some way still has to be found to ease Mr Bainimarama out of power and to rein in Fiji’s too-powerful army.
Lifting martial law in Fiji

13 comments:

  1. I doubt that the PER will be lifted tomorrow. An investigation is currently under way at QEB as arms have been confirmed to be missing from the camp and 4 M16 sub machine guns with bullets were found during the investigations in the Mere Samisoni case. This has now opened a large can of worms as Frank & Aiyarse now fear for their lives, clearly demonstrated by yesterday's meeting at the PM's Office where senior military officers along with Aiyarse, the Police Commisioner, Minister for Works Timoci Lesi, PS for Agriculture Viliame Naputo were all present.

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  2. INTERESTING!!!
    We can all now expect Bainimarama to this evening douse the excitement generated from his PER lifting speech!!!
    NZ journo Michael Field is speculating that Bainimarama will announce a revised Public Order Act which, in effect, will "camouflage" continuation of the PER.
    Looks like Khaiyum and his Aunty Nur Bano have some real leverage over Frank!!!!

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  3. Human Rights as enshrined in United Nations conventions have been abused in Fiji. State sovereignty has been shattered, whereby in normalised condition, the state being the servant of the people has been overturned. In order to protect the citizens from further hardship and a further downward spiral, the UN should order an intervention under their Responsibility to Protect protocol (R2P). This will be in keeping with the spirit of the Biketawa declaration by members of the South Pacific Forum. Fiii obviously can't untangle itself out of the mess it created and needs assistance to be normalised again.

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  4. I think the sanctions on regime supports should remain permanently, not relaxed as some sort of gift for good behaviour.It should be warning to all regime and coup supporters that your movement will remain tresticted because of your actions. There shouldn't have been a coup or PER in the first place. Isn't it a bit like a kidnapper releasing hostages and then walking away free from charges?? What should we be rewarding. Haven't we learnt anything from Iran , Libya, North Korea and Zimbabwe that any appeasement just makes us look weak and it is only thrown back in our faces anyway!!! The idea that we have to haggle with these people amazes me.

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  5. lifting of PER....does it mean much....

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  6. Judegement Day is here my friends and you will be killed by your own guns & bullets by your own men who are fed up with the corruption and greed by Voreqe, Khaiyum & Senior Military Officers.

    God bless Fiji

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  7. Can C4.5 please obtain and place on this site a copy of the amended Public Order Decree (2012). It should be interesting to see if it's the PER all over again. If so, then Bainimarama has pulled off a major International scam - recieivng accolades for lifting the PER but instituting most of its provisions in the amended Public Order Decree!!
    THE PEOPLE OF FIJI AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAVE BEEN TAKEN FOR A RIDE BY BAINIMARAMA YET AGAIN!!!

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  8. Increase the sanctionsJanuary 6, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Time to increase the sanctions on these military junta criminals and their families. The sanctions have forced the ferals to drop the PER. Keep the pressure on them.
    You can smell the fear as they know the time for them to be chased up a drainpipe is getting closer. This is the year to watch more dictators and their familes try and escape up sewer pipes.

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  9. Yadra mada says...

    Frank your biggest threat, threat to your family, threat to the military, threat to your Kaiviti ethnic group, threat to your Fijian Chiefs & Vanua, threat to all Christian denominations, threat to all other races, threat to economic growth & prosperity, threat to social development and threat to tourism and investments are:

    1. Aiyaz Khaiyum & Riaz Khaiyum
    2. Nur Bano Ali & Partner
    3. Naz Shameem & Aslam Khan
    4. Dixon Seeto & Jenny Seeto
    5. Hafiz Khan
    6. Afzal Khan
    7. Aisake Taito
    8. Ioane Naivalurua
    9 & the list goes on.

    Be careful of your back.....tik tok

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  10. How easy would it be to set someone up.

    4 missing m16's just happen to turn up at an opponents house after a search ...

    all to easy and dubiuos.

    ...but imagine..mere samisoni blazing away
    pretty kool huh. lmao

    come on franky and hairy arse

    ...give us a break...too much

    oh, by the way...you are legitimate targets, just smile and take it on the chin, cause thats what it is all about brothers....free for all.

    pre 1874 chiefly bros on the take and on the make while u can.

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  11. Frank has everyone guessing! Cause everyone thought Frank was just a simple fool who will eventually trip over himself-me thinks Frank has another few Aces up his sleeve, whilst others think there have the other 3?

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  12. Why do people keep thinking Bainimarama is going to act differently than he has to date? He isn't going to allow a truly open process, and he isn't going to leave. He may eventually leave the day to day workings of government to somebody else, but he is going to ensconce himself as president, with powers significantly greater than those of Nailatikau and other predecessors.

    s/ Dakuwaqa

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  13. The softening of the PER to POA is like leaping from pan into the fire.

    It appears that group gatherings,movement and communication will only be permitted in order to facilitate the passage of a new so called,constitution for Fiji.

    Say,"yes" to a fair consitution but "no" to an "Immunity from Criminal Prosecution" for Voreqe and his goons.

    Voreqe will try his hardest to use his Immunity as a bargaining tool for the new elections.He is getting desperate because 2014 is fast approaching where the people of Fiji wil again witess his conman characteristics again.

    There must be a new constitution and elections with no conditions attached.

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