#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Proposed 2012 Constitution for Fiji: 'fair to all'

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Proposed 2012 Constitution for Fiji: 'fair to all'



"We do not expect all the groups to like all of the constitution—this was scarcely possible with such different interests, expectations, and lack of nationwide dialogue. But we assure all Fijians and their communities and groups that we have tried to be fair to all, and hope that the vision of the future of Fiji that we are proposing will find favour with them."

So sayeth the Yash Ghai Commission but at the end of the day, sadly, it will not be the people who decide if this is the right path for Fiji. We should remember, too, that this 2012 Constitution was instigated by a regime that toppled a democratically elected government, and which then went on to abrogate the 1997 Constitution.

 
WHAT CAN A CONSTITUTION DO: ITS IMPORTANCE IN DIVIDED SOCIETIES
Many people, quite rightly, asked us if this constitution would suffer the same fate as its predecessors. Will it solve any problems? A constitution cannot arrange or predict its own fate. Its fortunes depend on the traditions of the rule of law and the broad satisfaction of the people with its values and institutions. Some countries may indeed be able to manage without a constitution as we were reminded. But the category of such states is nearly extinct as the role of the state changes with increasing complexity of society and its relations with the external world. Ironically, it is those states that most need constitutions, which include some former colonies, that frequently dispense with them.

Why is their need for a constitution so strong? In established societies with long common histories, there is substantial agreement on national values, the relationship of the state to society, and the proper limits of state power. This kind of social consensus does not exist in new multi-ethnic states, as is obvious from Fiji’s own history. An option for such countries is to use the constitution as the source of consensus—on values and institutions.


But for a constitution to serve this purpose it has to be the product of a national discourse and negotiations, an agreement on the vision and values of the country and its people.

And then there has to be agreement on the institutions of government. In no past instance in Fiji have there been sufficiently wide consultations to have produced that result. But even that is not enough: the tradition of commitment to the constitution as a compact or to the rule of law is also needed.

We believe that Fiji and its communities cannot progress unless all communities are convinced that their concerns and anxieties have been dealt with sympathetically. The process so far has been highly consultative. But an important element has been missing.

The conversations have been between the people and the Commission; the more important conversations, between the people, their various communities and regions, have not taken place. In the circumstances we have tried to balance fairly competing interests within the broad framework of constitutional principles and our own understanding of the dynamics of Fiji society.

We do not expect all the groups to like all of the constitution—this was scarcely possible with such different interests, expectations, and lack of nationwide dialogue. But we assure all Fijians and their communities and groups that we have tried to be fair to all, and hope that the vision of the future of Fiji that we are proposing will find favour with them. If the draft constitution is accepted by the Constituent Assembly, the responsibility for the safekeeping of the constitution and living by its values and procedures will pass to the people.
 

SECTION 4: THE WAY FORWARD: THE COMMISSION’S
APPROACH


The Constitution Commission believes that the fundamental need is to shift the identity, politics and institutions of the people of Fiji from their bases in community to those basedon equal citizenship. This approach is explicit in the constitutional principles in the Decrees on the constitution making process. Fiji has been a state for long now but it is not yet a nation. We believe that the challenge is to create out of its diverse communities an identity as a nation founded on common values and aspirations, without dispensing with its rich cultural diversity. Once the foundations of that national identity have been agreed upon (“nation building”), the values, institutions and procedures of the state must be reformed to reflect the Fiji nation and its aspirations (“state building”). The challenge of the constitution is to achieve both together.

The Commission believes that it is in the interests of the development of culture that it should be separated from the state; being tied to the state not only threatens the autonomy of cultural communities and with their social structures; but also encumbers the state with responsibilities that interfere with its duty to be fair to all communities and equally accountable to them (compromising the principles of inclusion, equal opportunity, and above all integration).

There is wide acceptance among scholars and the public that the most fundamental causes of Fiji’s contemporary problems lie in history and in its various constitutions shaped by that history (a point noted by both the Reeves’ Commission and the NCBBF).

At the root of the problems is the organisation of politics, state and economy on the basis of ethnic communalism—the colonial legacy. This much is evident from the narratives of Fiji’s two major communities: both victims of forces beyond them; deprived of free choice and will; both communities suffered greatly in the colonial system. Instead of dealing with the forces that subordinated and in many respects exploited them, they regarded the other community as the obstacle to the advancement of its members—and made little effort to understand the suffering of the other. So the colonial policy of pitting one community against another was successful.

In this way some fundamental factors governing their destiny were obscured—and continue to be to this day. Uncovering the factors that have prevented the realisation of the full potential of Fiji and its various communities is essential to constitutional and economic reforms. The segregation of races that was the major organising principle of colonialism meant that there were few contacts and little social mixing between them, leaving each ignorant of the values, culture, and aspirations of the other. The experience of numerous multi-ethnic states is that unless there is a strong sense of nationhood and a feeling of a shared destiny, politics inevitably lead to ethnic tensions and conflict.

The fragmentation of society was evident to the Commission in a large number of submissions, which concentrated on the concerns of specific communities, and relatively few spoke on the needs of the people as a whole. Underlying tensions were driven by communal differences, based on colonial classifications of people as in few other countries, a remnant of the colonial rule. Colonial policies labelled people and thensegregated them (in line with colonial policies in other places). The separate native administration is not unique to Fiji; it has been the means of control of the people throughout the Empire. In Fiji it proved possible to keep communities segregated because of “conservation” policies regarding the iTaukei: assigning different economic and occupational roles of communities; different places of residence; a certain degree of racial incitement; these persisted into independence unlike in Africa, for a number of reasons, particularly the perceived notion that iTaukei needed special protective mechanisms; and protection from other communities, particularly Indo-Fijians. The labels given to people cut across the stereotypes that they represent and neither depict reality (the neat and often derogatory labels) nor provide a guide to policy and justice. It is impossible to separate off “races” in terms of residence, occupation, economy, education, links to the outside world—or anxieties and aspirations. Policies or institutions geared towards one community make little sense—often unnecessary and impacting in unexpected ways on others.

It is important more than ever before that the people understand that the interests of their communities are not divergent, much less antagonistic. The specific interests they have in common—such as livelihood, housing, employment, care of children and the elderly—greatly exceed the specific interests within the community. The question of poverty can, for example, no longer be understood or remedied in terms of ethnicity—it is a national problem and should be dealt with as such. Students from all groups attend same schools—and learn each other’s languages. Social contacts, especially among the younger generation, are increasing as are inter-ethnic marriages. The traditional organisation of society and state on communal lines makes little sense—and costs the country a great deal in social harmony, emigration of highly skilled people, productive use of resources, cultural and artistic developments, and co-operation in many fields.

A major cause of political instability in Fiji has been the tendency of race-based political parties, when in power, to focus primarily on their own ethnic group as in need of "affirmative action". The two major parties have been reluctant to accept the objective assessment of poverty in Fiji which clearly shows that the two major ethnic groups are equally poor, and that assisting the poor on the basic of need alone would distribute poverty alleviation resources roughly in proportion to their population numbers.

Economic growth is fundamental to the solution of Fiji’s problems and the aspirations of its people. In formulating its recommendations, the Commission has sought to be fair to all communities and individuals. We have looked for approaches and solutions under which every community would be better off than otherwise.




Excerpts from the 196 page draft Constitution:

23.    Promulgation of new laws(1)     The President and Cabinet as constituted under this Schedule between the Genera Effective Date and the date of the first sitting of Parliament may make laws by Decree, subject to the following subsections.

(2)     The authority of the President and Cabinet under this section must be exercised in compliance with this Constitution and the law, and in a spirit and manner consistent with the principles of democracy and the values of the Constitution.

(3)     Every law promulgated on or after the General Effective Date must be consisten with this Constitution as if the entire Constitution were in effect, and any provision of any such law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency.

(4)     During  the  period  between  the  General  Effective  Date  and  the  first  sitting  of Parliament, the Solicitor General must prepare draft standing orders for use by Parliament as of the first sitting of Parliament, based on the standing orders of the House  of  Representatives  under  the  Constitution  Amendment  Act, 1997,  with modifications as needed to be consistent with the relevant provisions, and the values, of this Constitution.

(5)     The Public Order Law and Access to Information Law appended to this Constitution are necessary for a peaceful transition to democracy through free and fair elections.

They--

(a)     will have been adopted upon the adoption of this Constitution;

(b)     take effect from the General Effective Date, but the Minister responsible for public  administration  may  delay  the  implementation  of  the  Access  to Information Law for no longer than a year to allow for proper planning for its implementation; and

(c)     may not be amended before the first sitting of Parliament.

(6)     The Laws referred to in subsection (5) have the same status as an Act of Parliament passed in accordance with this Constitution, except--

(b)     Article 106 (4) does not apply to any Bill to repeal or amend them;

(c)     despite Article 99 (2), a Bill to amend them will pass only if it has the support of at least 36 members of Parliament; and

(d)     if  there  is  a  conflict  between  any  provision  of  the  Laws  referred  to  in subsection (5) and any provision of an ordinary Act of Parliament or a Decree, the provision of the Law prevails, except to the extent that the ordinary Act expressly provides otherwise.

24.    Judicial proceedings and other pending matters

(1)     Any proceedings before any court, tribunal or commission that had arisen under any law and that had been terminated by order at any time before the General Effective Date, are revived and may be proceeded with under  this Constitution, and any limitation period affecting any such proceedings begins to run afresh as from the General Effective Date.

(2)     Unless otherwise provided under this Constitution, all judicial proceedings pending before any court immediately before the General Effective Date must continue to be heard and determined by the same court.

(3)     Any judgment or order of a court given or made before the General Effective Date, in so far as it has not been fully executed or enforced, may be executed or enforced on or after that date.

(4)     Any court rules in force immediately before the General Effective Date remain in force under this Constitution, subject to any later variation made by the authority that issued  those  rules,  but  any  such  rules  may  be  replaced  by  the  relevant  Rules Committee established under Article 127.

(5)     All proceedings pending before any tribunal or commission immediately before the General Effective Date must continue to be heard and determined by the same tribunal or commission.

(6)     Any decision of a tribunal or commission issued before the General Effective Date in so far as it has not been fully executed or enforced, may be executed or enforced on or after that date as if it had been made under this Constitution.

Part F- Dispute Resolution, Oaths of Allegiance and Immunity

25.    Resolution of Disputes

(1)    The Transitional Advisory Council may issue advisory directives addressing any matters that are uncertain in the application of this Schedule, to promote an efficient and stable transition to elected constitutional government.

(2)     If, despite any directives issued under subsection  (1), a dispute remains over the application of any provision of this Schedule, a person may apply to the High Court for a declaratory order to resolve the dispute.

26.    Oath of allegiance to this Constitution


On the General Effective Date, the President and any Officer of the State or other person who had previously taken and subscribed an oath or affirmation of office under any former Constitution or law, and who holds that office on that date, must take and subscribe the appropriate oath or affirmation under this Constitution, as set out in Schedule 3.

27.    Grant of Immunity


The immunities set out in Section 7 (4) of the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constitutional Commission) Decree 2012 (Decree No. 57 of 2012) and in Section 8 (3) of Decree No. 58  of 2012, are continued or granted, as the case may be, in the precise terms specified in those  Decrees with respect to each person who, before an attesting witness, signs and swears or affirms the Oath or Affirmation of Reconciliation and Allegiance, set out in Part C of Schedule 3. 

Read the Draft Constitution 2012


Read the Explanatory Report


Appendage to Draft for Proposed Constitution of Fiji


Analysis of Decrees Post-2009



50 comments:

Pacific in the Media said...

Truncated Lounge on the proposed Constitution:


Darling Grubby,

I hope you had a good Christmas, because it is over now.

I am sure you have seen by now that our PLAN A re. the draft constitution has not worked. Although we destroyed every copy in Fiji except for the President’s and the True Leader’s copy it has leaked out on the Internet. It was not all in vain though because Burning the Constitution Beach Party was the best party ever. There is something about a man wearing a uniform lit by flickering flames that is just so sexy. If only they thought the same about a flame haired beauty. Sigh!

The True Leader, Aiyarse, is incensed by the draft and the explanatory notes. Cash Guy makes the following comment “The drafting is very defective, almost to the point of incomprehensibility,” regarding the Casino decree. As you can imagine Aiyarse is deeply upset that his former professor has not recognized the true greatness of the True Leader. Aiyarse said Cash must be jealous because the pupil has surpassed the Master.

So now we are onto PLAN B and probably PLAN C by the end of the day. The Fiji Sun has already highlighted some problem areas of the Draft and said that the Constituent Assembly should not rubber stamp it. I am quite proud of that editorial as I wrote it on my iPhone whilst at the bar at the Holiday Inn.

But we have decided the only way forward is to destroy the credibility of the Constitution Commission. Aiyarse has got one of his Muslim cousins, I can’t remember his name but he owns a pharmacy in Labasa. He is working on a DNA (Do Not Ask) test in the back room of the store and the results will prove beyond any doubt that Fiji has been the subject a massive spy plot by the Australian Secret Service and the CIA.

The Oracle said...

Some early observations of the Ghai Commission's Draft Constitution:

Chapter I - Section Two – The Constitution and related provisions covering the coup culture:
This provision is a diluted effort to eliminate the coup culture. It does not go far enough in stipulating that any laws drafted outside of the provisions of the Constitution will have no legal effect. It does not provide sufficient guidance on procedures that may lead to abrogation of the Constitution or to enforcement of illegal legislation that may follow abrogation.

Chapter 1 - Section Four - Subsection 2(a) – The National People’s Assembly:
This is an attempt to provide the checks and balances normally provided by the Senate. In its currently recommended form, there is potential for the NPA to become a mere rubber stamp of the government of the day and lack the power intended for it, to act as an independent body of review. There is no guaranteed provision(like in the former Senate) to include interests of the i-Taukei. The provisions in their current form make a mockery of the intended “house of review” that the NPA should be, especially when a great number of its members are those whose work is being reviewed.

Chapter Two – Section 16 - National Consultative Land Forum:
This will be a controversial piece of legislation as it takes away the very thing the i-Taukei have feared all these years - the total ownership of and the right to decide how to use native land they believe is theirs by divine right.

Chapter Four – Section 56 - Recognition of Bose Levu Vakaturaga:
This provision does not give sufficient recognition to the GCC as the custodian of indigenous Fiji interests. The wording of Section 56, in its current recommended format, aims to appease the Bainimarama government but in so doing, belittles the importance of a tradition that is embedded in indegenous Fijians – the sense of “root” or belonging to a recognised “vanua”.

Chapter Four – Section 58 - Basic requirements for political parties:
This provision is presumptuous and will probably be re-written by the Constituent Assembly with much of its new wording to be lifted from Khaiyum’s upcoming Decree on the registration of political parties.

Chapter 8 – Section 79 – Proportional representation system:
This provision assumes the people of Fiji are sufficiently educated to recognise the value of their single vote. There is a great danger that the intended benefit of avoiding racial voting will back fire. Political parties which are race-focused will have the opportunity to increase their representation in parliament by tapping into the 11 seats reserved for “proportional” representation.

Chapter 9 – Parliament (Section 72 – Leader of Opposition and, Section 115 - Election of Prime Minister):
The issue of MPs electing the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition opens the way for political vote buying, ”horse-trading”, and constant ”jockeying” for positions of favour – leading to a highly “fluid” and unstable form of national governance. The term "back-stabbing" will no doubt be more common among future generations.

Pacific in the Media said...

part two

It appears that both Cash Guy and Christina Murray, the overseas members of the commission, were plants. Cash was in fact that well known Aussie Super Spy Alan Bond. He had undergone extensive plastic surgery and a major diet to take on the role. Chrstina Murray was none other than the CIA’s master spy, Smarter Hari. They also kept a third member Peni MoreDrugsPlease doped up so she would go along with everything they said.

Inline images 1

As a result the Draft Constitution is not a valid document. It is full of lies about the True Leader and said we were quite right to burn it. Alan Bond and Smarter Hari had better watch out. Police Commissioner NoValorHere has contacted Interpol and they have said they will not start a global man hunt. They have said the name is Interpol not Interarmy. If NoValorHere would like to get a policeman to contact them they might consider it.

When we release this information and expose the Constitution Commission for the sham it was we will be left with no option but to press on without elections.

Today is the first day of the 1,000 year Bananas Republic. “Heil Frankly Bananas! Heil Frankly Bananas!!

Hugs and Kisses



Shazzer

This is to inform the public that this letter is a piece of fiction. However, some of the people and events mentioned are real.

Seal Team 6 were able to successfully exfil Smarter Hari and Alan Bond. It was a risky mission using an undercover team on Flight FJ 259 to Hong Kong. It took weeks of training to get these tough guys walking and talking like an Air Pacific Steward

If anyone wants to look like Cash Guy they can contact the Plastic Surgery Hospital in Bondi Beach where Bondy got all his work done.

Anonymous said...

Long live the legal 1997 constitution.

tattifala said...

Fiji small banana republic. don't need fat constitution. don't need new constitution. now which part of this profound statement does anyone not understand?

Keep The Faith said...

Many submissions rejected the issue of immunity yet Ghai chose to grant these treasonous coupsters with a 'get out of gaol free' card just as long as they chanted his magic oath. This is what Ghai means by being "fair"?

Anonymous said...

We respect the 1997 Constitution and its alive.
we dont need all this draft and others .

tattifala said...

To all of you who have reiterated that the 1997 Constitution is the lawful Constitution of Fiji you are too right.
now that being the case all the talk centreing on the draft ghai constitution is waste of time.
the making of the draft constitution was a waste of money.
just ask yourselves why it was commissioned and who commissioned it? Not the people of Fiji??

Mandela Qarase our Hero said...

Long live our hero and true elected leader Mandela Qarase. It is only a matter of time Sir until this taliban scum protected by their pet dogs the Fiji military are brought to justice for their crimes against the nation of Fiji.

Vutuki Meo said...

NO IMMUNITY.

AIYARSE AND HIS PUPPET MUST GO TO JAIL!

Anonymous said...

People have spoke and said no immunity .
respect it if not resign.

Turukawa said...

The Draft constitution certainly goes out of its way to eradicate what Fijians have long cherished in their special position they have in Fiji as indigenous people of the land.

The Draft largely ignores the input of people' submission.. good example is their almost unanimous desire that the coup perpetrators should not be pardoned.

The section on land takes away the indeginous's peoples rights to their land...Govt is given the right although at last resort to decide on native land....there is no guarantee on the Fiji natives' inalienable rights on native land....this will be a source of big trouble, will fester away and ignite anger if not corrected......to you self imposed dictator do not temper with Fijian land ownership and inelienable rights of Fijians to decide on their land.

The insiduous stripping of Fijian rights that permeate through out the Draft constitution is wake up call to indegenous people to speak up against the dratf and be awake to have your say and we must fight now to correct it.....if not will sow the seeds of destabilisation on a bigger scale that will rock Fiji.

No GCC said...

Bugger the Bose Levu Vakaturaga. A bunch of indolent waste-timers. Frank has given us our money. We're not giving it back to these pissants. What is Yash Ghai thinking?

Anonymous said...


Fiji’s CC calls for transitional government before 2014 polls

Posted at 04:01 on 27 December, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s Constitution Commission says a transitional government should assume power six months before the elections the interim regime has promised to hold by September 2014.

While the Commission’s draft constitution has not yet been formally released, copies are circulating on the internet.

Don Wiseman has more:

“The Commission calls for a Transitional Advisory Council that would oversee the establishment of a caretaker government which must take over six months before the election. It says the up to 15 members of the caretaker government could be selected by the Council from people who have served as permanent secretaries or in similar positions in the government administration. It says this would ensure there was the administrative know how to run the country until the elections. The caretaker government’s key role would be to ensure that elections can take place. It says such an arrangement would be in the interests of everyone leading up to the election. It says candidates would not be able to complain that the military was manipulating the elections and that everyone would be on an equal footing. It also says no one in the caretaker government could stand in the election.”

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Anonymous said...


Fiji unions say constitution consultation process not transparent

Posted at 03:16 on 27 December, 2012 UTC

The Fiji Trades Union Congress says the constitution review process lacks transparency and it fears the will of the people will not be reflected in the new document.

It has condemned the pre-conditions the interim regime has placed on people wanting to sit on the Constituent Assembly, which will consider the draft constitution.

The Congress says these people have to accept the regime’s non-negotiable positions on issues such as immunity and the role of the military.

But it says such preconditions would reduce the Assembly to a talk shop, rubberstamping the military’s agenda.

The Congress says the regime must reconsider the process to ensure it remains credible and that the will of the people is truly enshrined in the new constitution.

It says the military must also remain subservient to an elected government to ensure there are no more coups.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Anonymous said...


Draft constitution proposes President as Head of State



Publish date/time: 27/12/2012 [16:59]


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The President as the Head of State and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government is the proposed form of governance drafted in the new Fiji Constitution.

Fijivillage has obtained the copy of the draft constitution which stipulates that the President is elected by the National People’s Assembly and all of the members of Parliament.

For the National People’s Assembly, it will be an annual assembly of the people in which representatives of civil society and Officers of the State congregate.

The people of Fiji will elect Parliament every four years and that is to consist of 71 members.

From this, 60 seats are to be filled by candidates representing multimember electoral districts and 11 seats are to be filled in accordance with a mechanism to ensure proportional distribution of the seats in Parliament among the parties contesting the election.

On religion, the State must treat all religions equally and the State must not dictate any religious belief.

The draft constitution includes a Bill of Rights.

The proposed draft constitution also recognizes the Bose Levu Vakaturaga as a custodian of i-Taukei culture and traditions, and as a non-partisan organ of civil society existing to promote wider understanding of the i-Taukei culture, and its traditional values and practices, in a manner consistent with the multicultural character of Fiji.


Story by: William Waqavakatoga

tattifala said...

The need for a transitional interim caretaker government is not six(6)months before the 2014 elections (if there is an election then) - it is NOW!!

Loyal Fijian said...

Draft constitution proposes President as Head of State
Publish date/time: 27/12/2012 [16:59]

Print this page
Email this page
The President as the Head of State and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government is the proposed form of governance drafted in the new Fiji Constitution.

Fijivillage has obtained the copy of the draft constitution which stipulates that the President is elected by the National People’s Assembly and all of the members of Parliament.

For the National People’s Assembly, it will be an annual assembly of the people in which representatives of civil society and Officers of the State congregate.

The people of Fiji will elect Parliament every four years and that is to consist of 71 members.

From this, 60 seats are to be filled by candidates representing multimember electoral districts and 11 seats are to be filled in accordance with a mechanism to ensure proportional distribution of the seats in Parliament among the parties contesting the election.

On religion, the State must treat all religions equally and the State must not dictate any religious belief.

The draft constitution includes a Bill of Rights.

The proposed draft constitution also recognizes the Bose Levu Vakaturaga as a custodian of i-Taukei culture and traditions, and as a non-partisan organ of civil society existing to promote wider understanding of the i-Taukei culture, and its traditional values and practices, in a manner consistent with the multicultural character of Fiji.

Anonymous said...

The Yash Ghai draft constitution is a subterfuge imposed on Fiji, without the consent of the governed, by a cabal of traitors led by a no-school, lilly-livered shit pants coup conspirator from the navy -- the very same commodore who violated every oath he ever took and every promise he ever made to install himself as a tinpot dictator in order to avoid prosecution for treason, murder and sundry other heinous crimes.

The 1997 Constitution lives.

No immunity.

rajend naidu said...

The Syrian Military Police Chief Abdel Aziz Jassen has defected from the Assad regime and publicly declared his allegiance to the uprising against President Assad. He said the Syrian army had abandoned its original mission and had become a murderous renegade army hellbent on killing the people they were meant to protect.This defection is seen as a major set back for the Assad regime.(ABC 24 News 27/12 5.00PM)

Anonymous said...

If Yash Ghai's bogus commission wants to be fair to all, then it should give the people what they want -- the chance to freely elect their own representatives to debate a constitution of their own creation, put to the people for full discussion and ratification. Also, the RFMF should be disbanded and its leaders arrested. No immunity for treason.

Cashing Up said...

The explanatory note is the so-called constitution that was leaked by Ghai several weeks ago and the rest looks fairly predictable.

Anonymous said...

Fiji to get caretaker government ahead of 2014 election

Updated 27 December 2012, 16:59 AEST


The idea of having a caretaker government in Fiji in the runup to the 2014 elections may not be palatable to the coup installed military regime.
.


That's according to Professor Wadan Narsey, a Fiji economist and academic who has studied the draft constitution produced by the country's Constitution Commission, headed by prominent international constitutional scholar, Professor Yash Ghai..

Electronic copies of the document are available on various anti government websites, but so far the printed copies have yet to be distributed within Fiji itself.

The interim government has released a statement saying that the Draft Constitution is with the President, who will hand it to the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly when that person is chosen by the Prime Minister in the New Year.

It is not a Government document but one written by the Constitutional Commission - an independent body - for the consideration of members of the Constituent Assembly, who will represent a broad cross-section of the Fijian people.

The interim government statement says they have always said that public discussion of the document will begin when the Constituent Assembly meets. It is therefore the task of the Assembly, not the Government, to release the draft when the time comes.

The Government regrets that the Draft appears to have been leaked but deems it inappropriate to make any comment under the circumstances.

Professor Narsey says there are several reasons why the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama might be unhappy with the provisions contained in the document.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Professor Wadan Narsey, a Fiji economist and academic.

NARSEY: We can look at the constitution in two ways; first of all there's an ideal constitution that is supposed to be a legal guide for people of any country anywhere, and it's not always(?) a good one. And academics might like to debate about how we can be any different from the 1997 constitution which it claims to replace. But to me the most important part of this draft constitution are the very pragmatic recommendations made by the commission, which was set up by the military regime themselves you've got to remember, into what the people in Fiji need to do in order to get to the 2014 elections, September 2014 elections, which this year's commission very, very clearly stipulate as the way forward.

rajend naidu said...

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi gave his first national address since the public protest against his proposed constitution. He waved a copy of the draft constitution and said it was a constitution that reflected the will of the Egyptian people. I don't know whether it does or does not. There is dispute among the Egyptian people themselves on whether Morsi's Constitution is for the whole of the Egyptian people or for serving the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood? What struck me was that the constitution booklet President Morsi was waving looked about the size of the US Constitution booklet.(SBS News 27/12 , 6.30PM). It made me wonder - again - how a country with over 91 million people could managed with such a thin looking constitution when we in Fiji with less then one million people require an encyclopedia size constitution?

Anonymous said...

We may well find that while the Constitution is an important issue only the most passionate will get in a lather over it. Most people have and are moving on.

Pacific in the Media said...

Chaudhry suspicious of lack of consultation on draft Fiji constitution
Updated 26 December 2012, 17:00 AEST

The Fiji Labour Party believes pressure was put on the Constitution Commission to cancel a meeting with political parties, NGOs and civil society groups to brief them on the proposed draft constitution.
Chaudhry suspicious of lack of consultation on draft Fiji constitution (Credit: ABC)

The Commission has produced a document which lays out a clear path for Fiji to return to democracy with free elections in 2014, preceded by replacing the coup installed military government with a transitional advisory council to act as a caretaker government to run the country for the six months leading up to the polls.

There was supposed to have been a consultation meeting between the commission and interested groups last week, but it was first postponed and then cancelled by the interim government.

No reason has been given for the cancellation.

Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry is in no doubt that it's because the interim government doesn't like the document's recommendations are doesn't want it discussed in public.

Bye Ghai said...

Another irony: the Constitution was crafted by Ghai with the knowledge and despite the draconian decrees which is 'reviewed'. Incredible that it would seek to produce a Constitution 'fair to all' with the full knowledge of the oppressive environment the people live in.


2009 DECREES
1. Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 Revocation Decree 2009
This Decree was made on 10 April 2009 by Ratu J. I. Uluivuda, described as “President and Commander in Chief of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces
[sic].” It declares that “the Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 is with effect from the 10th day of April 2009, wholly removed, revoked, and
abrogated.” The Decree goes on to say that “all Decrees promulgated under my hand and seal shall be regarded as law and shall be observed and
enforced.”
Comment
The Decree was made the day following a Court of Appeal decision that the 1997 constitution was still the law (Qarase v Bainimarama). It amounts to a
usurpation of executive and legislative power by the military authority. It will cease to have effect when a Government constituted under the new
Constitution assumes office. Transitional provisions will be needed to provide for the assumption of office of a new Government.
It is for consideration whether this Decree needs to be expressly repealed or it just falls away.

Mahen 'the treasonist' Chaudhry said...

Listen to Mahen yelping after helping put this regime in place to cover up $A2m he secreted into his Australian Bank account. What a chameleon. He will sell his soul for money and power!

gali gali me shor hai mahen chaudhry chor hai!

Anonymous said...

you kaiviti full of bullshit you let the kai india run yo to the dogs and praying wont help you MAY THE TALIBAN RULE U UNTIL GET U WAKE UP

Anonymous said...

Ghai the self-confessed 'outsider' thanks the treasonous thieves Bainimarama and Khaiyum for the chance to participate - or is it shaft Fiji people???

I end this statement on a personal note. It has been a great honour indeed to chair the Commission. It is not often that an outsider is asked to take this responsibility (although of course this is not unprecedented in Fiji where the previous constitution review was chaired by Sir Paul Reeves). Nor, I like to think, am I entirely an outsider. It has been my privilege to participate in public affairs in Fiji and work with not only the government but also civil society. I have spent time at the USP as a visiting scholar and a fair part of my research work has been on the Pacific Islands, particularly Fiji. Nevertheless, despite this honour and the warm welcome and hospitality I have received everywhere I went, an outsider I am. But I am deeply privileged to take part in this momentous exercise to change Fiji, promote national unity and restructure the state for greater integrity and service to people. For this honour I thank the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama,the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Anonymous said...

Some people will complain no matter what. Whether its this new consitution or the 1997 one. MPC did not like it but became PM.

Most fijians did not like it and supported George Speight's coup.

As long as we fight amongst us, no contitution will help us. Fijian will fight amongst themselves based on their province, against kaidia bexcause they are different. Likewise indians.

We need to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Lets be fair on Yash Ghai - he had to operate under terms and conditions of the Decree - atleast he has brought the regime close to holding elections etc - political parties should go into the Constituent Assembly if their applications is successful - and fight their corner from inside - and at the end of the day the PEOPLE of Fiji will have the chance - if there are elections in September under whatever electoral system - to VOTE parties of their choice - so lets be pragmatic - we whingers did nothing but protested and blogged from inside and outside Fiji!

Anonymous said...

Let's be fair to Yash Ghai. He licked Bainimarama's balls because somebody had to, or so he claims.

Ganesh said...

FIJI DON'T NEED CONSTITUTION, THE ONLY CONSTITUTION IS TO SUPPLY GUNS TO ALL CITIZENS AND LET RULE OF THE JUNGLE TAKE OVER JUST LIKE PAKISTAN & AFGHAN TRIBAL AREA.

Anonymous said...

Fijians need to wake up to what Bainimarama and Kaiyum are doing to them.
They keep telling us they are doing good and yet Statistics tell a completely different story.
Fijians should wake up to the fact that this Illegal government is hell-bent on destroying native Fijian control.

It has removed your control of self-determination of government.

It has destroyed the GCC.
At present it is systematically destroying provincial governance and village governance.

Come on Fijians wake up!

At present they are gunning for the removal of the Vola ni Kawabula because "we are all fijians " and therefore it is unfair to only include some fijians and not others.

(Did you see how they were stirring up 2 weeks ago that it is unfair that certain fijians are not in the VKB. That is only the beginning.)

And that stupid fijian woman who was put up at the front to make an announcement that fijians came from Sri Lanka.

This is all trickery with one single purpose of destroying Fijians.

Come on Fijians wake up!

This government is hell-bent on destroying you.

They keep saying they are doing good for you - but the fact is completely different.

Please wake up now before it's too late.

ULTIMATELY THIS GOVERNMENT WANTS TO WRENCH FIJIAN CONTROL OF THEIR LAND.

Why do you think they allow these kaivalagi to build walls around your coastline.

Like I said they are systematically divesting you of all that is precious to you.

Wake up Fijians!
Open your eyes and see what this evil man Bainimarama is actually doing.

Don't listen to any word coming from his mouth. That is ALL BULLLSHIT. Look at his actions.

Jesus said If you see the fruit, then you know what tree it is.

We can all see what this evil man is doing , so lets do ALL that we can to eliminate him NOW!

- Valataka na Dina.

Anonymous said...

The regime's "(un)constitutional dia/monologue", as Dakuwaqa so aptly called it, is proving to be just that.

I've advocated nonviolence, but now all nonviolent recourses have been exhausted.

Friends, it's time we started arming ourselves to wrest back our government and our freedoms.

The Oracle said...

SADLY... Ghai and his team has missed another golden opportunity to ensure long-lasting peace; equal citizenship through a truly democratic form of goverance; an end to the coup culture, and; respect and proper acknowledgement of the special status of the i-Taukei.
The draft Constitution promotes Bainimarama and Khaiyum's efforts to relegate to the back seat, the fears of indegenous Fijians and create a superficially homogenous society which hopes to frog-march Fiji forward in unison as one big "happy family" while sweeping under the carpet the very thing that has helped fuel coups in Fiji. And that is the real fear by the i-Taukei that they will lose their own identity by being absorbed into the huge melting pot where all the people of Fiji are supposedly equal. I-Taukei who argue against the GCC are either urban-based or ignorant of the important role the GCC can play to safeguard the interests of Fiji's indegenous people and still work in the interests of all the people of Fiji - regardless of ethnicity. Admittedly, the GCC became politicised and this was due largely to its composition. However, if the GCC were to be re-structured so that it is comprised of members ELECTED exclusively by the i-Taukei and funded through provincial levies, the organisation could become a powerful tool in safeguarding the interests of ordinary Fijians. The GCC, in this form, would deliberate on issues - close to the hearts of the i-Taukei - raised at provincial level. Provincial funding would also give the GCC its independece from having to rely on the governmment of the day and therefore on the public coffers for its functions. This should also be the only provincal funding required from the i-Taukei as their finacial contribution will be specifically to safeguard their own interests and ensure their concerns are raised at the appopriate level. Because there is no government funding, the i-Taukei will have "ownership" of the GCC.
The Provincial Councils should also be re-structured so that they become Provincial Advisory Councils comprised of i-Taukei and other Fiji citizens whose common goal will be development, job-creation and fair distribution of wealth at the provincial level. All matters of particular concern to the i-Taukei would be raised and debated at the Provincial Advisory Council-level and then forwarded to the GCC for further deliberation and consultations with the government of the day. And to help fund the Provincial Advisory Councils, a minimal levy should be imposed on all Fiji citizens. This could be equated with funding for the now eliminated Senate. This way, ownership of the Provincial Advisory Council would be for all of Fiji's citizens - thus generating greater respect and understanding of inter-ethnic issues. And the issues of specific concern to the i-Taukei will be handled by the GCC, therefore giving the i-Taukei some gaurantee that their fears - real or perceived - will be addressed at the proper forum.
With this set-up in place, the Government of the Day - because it is funded by the geneal population of Fiji, becomes answerable to ALL of the people of Fiji. This is where equal citizenship takes its roots - through the governance of the country.
So, in short, Fiji's destiny lies truly in the concept of the three-legged stool: Provincial Advisory Councils which are owned and funded by all of the people of Fiji; the GCC which is owned and funded by the i-Taukei; and the Government of the Day - which is owned and funded equally by all the citizens of Fiji.
Until there is a system of governance where we begin to truly understand each other and acknowledge the diversity we all bring to the same table, Fiji will never be "the way the world should be". We will always have a band-aid covered wound which will fester every now and again, just like the dormant volcanoes which erupt every now and again to remind us of the fury that is buried within.

Oracle of Doom said...

The Oracle, you really are a dope. How is the i'Taukei identity threatened in any way by everyone being treated equally under the law? It is a cultural thing, not a legal thing. It's up to the i'Taukei whether they want to keep their culture alive. No-one is stopping them from protecting their identity. It's about building a modern nation in which every citizen has a stake. The thing about you is that you dress up all this stuff in fancy language. But your attitude is no different from the ignoramuses who got Fiji into this mess in the first place.

SEMI MEO said...

I may have been forgiving should the surname be mine alone.

Again, my humble request as I may not be able to continue contributing in this highly esteemed column out of respect for my other family members, many of them DO NOT share my views at all, indeed have mutual respect for each other.

We all have much respect for the C4.5 team, I know they value their respective family name as I value mine.

Vinaka vakalevu.

SEMI MEO said...

Vinaka V....Meo..December 27, 2012 4:28 PM

Anonymous said...

No worries Semi.
I will cease from writing Vutuki Meo.

The Oracle said...

@ Oracle of Doom ...
You obviously don't cherish your roots and therefore cannot understand the fear that I am talking about. I am not condemning equal citizenship.. I am in fact encouraging it -- at the appropriate level which is in the governance of the country where everyone (i-taukei and other Fijian citizens) will have a say because we are all equal contributors (stakeholders if you prefer) to the financing of that governance. Simple - equal citizenship at the appropriate level.

I am in no way suggesting creating different LEGAL systems - one for the i-Taukei and another for the general population as you appear to infer. Because the judiciary is financed by the people, justice is applied equally to all (including the i-Taukei). Simple - equal citizenship at the appropriate level.

Just like you, I am in favour of a modern nation. But, unlike you, I am not deliberately blinkered to the fears of the i-Taukei. They share the same fears millions of other people around the world have - the loss of their own time-honoured traditions and values - their own identity. That, of course is lost on you in your argument that we progress with the times and that the i-Taukei choose whether they wish to keep pace or retain their own culture. Why not look at the other side of the coin - where the i-Taukei would like to participate in the move to a modern state but at a pace where they do not forfeit their own identity?
Or are you so fixated with becoming an equal Fijian you couldn't care less whether or not, as a people, the i-Taukei survive as a distinct people on this Earth?
What constitutes a "modern" nation? And how do you "modernise" without having to trash what some people hold dear to them? A simple suggestion (albeit "dopey" in your assessment)? EQUAL CITIZENSHIP AT THE APROPRIATE LEVEL!!!!

I assume your last sentence refers to the "ignoramuses" pre-Bainimarama and your time? If I'm correct in my assumption then I can only say you and your kind are not helping us get out of the mess you refer to. In fact, you're digging the pit even deeper to accumulate more of the "mess" your ignorance is creating. When you keep digging a pit there is a danger that it will all cave in on you at some point. And that is what I fear is happening here. The draft Constitution is not trying to solve the problem of future coups .. it's simply creating the opportunity for further upheavals.

Anonymous said...

Now we will never know why semi ran away from Fiji, perhaps we are getting so close to finding out the truth. Just excuses from semi yet again.

Anonymous said...

@Oracle of Doom 9:47
The problem with you is you think Fijians want to be called iTaukei.
You think Fijians wanted the GCC dissolved.
etc etc.
All these changes happening to Fijians have been forced upon them by unruly soldiers with guns.

Did Fijians have a say in all this bullshit decisions?
No!

Fijians in general are respectful people who want to give other races a chance.

That is why they believe in Democracy and everyone having a chance to choose who to lead them, including Indians.

If Fijians wanted it all to themselves, then Democracy would never have seen the light of day on 11/10/70 ( the day after Independance)

But as the Oracle said, You Continue to dig a hole then who knows which way it is all going to collapse. Fijians are human beings too and you can only push them to a certain point and then things will SNAP.

When it snaps, you can bet your bottom dollar Kaiyum and Shameem will be the first ones to bite the dust.

What people like myself and the Oracle are advocating is that we don't want to reach that snapping point.
Things can be done peacefully and in a civilised manner.
And it should start by subjecting criminals who have committed treason to the Law and let the Law take it's full course.
And if that means Bainimarama and Kaiyum to be hanged then so be it.

-Valataka na Dina.



Anonymous said...

All you knockers of the iTaukei's fear of losing their land, that fear is not misplaced.
You are assuming that the next parliament under the (new?) consitution will be dominated by iTaukei. That is an assumption based principally on the numbers of iTaukei. There is a real possibility that the new parliament will be made up of say 50 kai india. Then what happens? You are also assuming that the kai india and the others will protect indigenous rights. Can they be trusted to do that? Land ownership by itself does not protect the kai viti. Indians, in most cases, speculate and profit on the native leases without the kaiviti sharing any of it. True example: salt water infested cane farm leased to kai india increases in value because it is the only access to the nearby resort development. the kai india demands FJD500,000 and gets paid by the developer. The NLTB approves the tranfer, legally done because if the NLTB refuses the kai india can run to Court and get an order directing the NLTB to do just that. By law the NLTB or the kaiviti cannot demand the kaiindia to share his windfall gain. so the kaiindia takes the loot and smiles all the way to USA. Is that fair? Without the kaivitis land the kaiindia cannot get his loot. yet the kaiindia has no legal obligation to share it with the true owner of the land. He has done nothing to the land other than farm it; and he gets his just dues from the cane payments. The kaiviti still gets the peppercorn rent and remains owner as landlord but remains the poorer for it.
And you are saying that the kaiviti's fears are misplaced? Know your stuff before commenting.

And the politics? the kaiindia can get political power, change the cosnstitution and effectively nullify indigenous rights...oh as the commission says, they are a majority, why do they need protection? they are oblivious to reality. its not population numbers. its political power and will that determines the outcome in the end. obviously the commission members do not have the foresight and the cries of the kaiviti and do not appreciate the danger ahead. These commissioners are Just a bunch of ill informed academics and yes persons (note all decisins were unanimous -- what does peni moore or vakatale or the good professor know about kaiviti land and issues?) who live in lala land and not the real fiji.
The reality is that the kaiviti do not trust the kaiindia to do the right thing by them. This document does not allay that mistrust - it only gives a legal? democratic? opportunity to exacerbate that mistrust.

Anonymous said...

what has happened to all these documents? I cannot access it.

Pacific in the Media said...

anon@5.49pm they appear to have been blocked. see the documents on earlier story proposed fiji constitution: fair to all, which includes the proposed new constitution and supporting documents.c4.5

Anonymous said...

The Oracle makes sense. The Oracle of Doom, on the other hand, sounds like a typical arrogant and facile Qorvis/Graham Davis posting.

Anonymous said...

Well done Bob Carr and Murray McCully, look at your handy work now

Anonymous said...

Anonymous tattifala @ 6:24 PM on Dec. 27

tatti falla (shit fellow) You are not only talking from both end of your mouth but from 3 ends if mouth is there is such a thing. You need to make up your bloody mind which government do you suggest.

Transitional, Interim or Caretaker government? You can't have all three. There is a vast difference between the three.

Well may be the lack of understanding and being novice, you do not know the difference. I see that it is pretty common for our Fiji people to try to be "wannabe".