|MATACA: Fiji on the right path. Invictus Pictures|
Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca died yesterday at Suva Private Hospital, aged 81.
Mataca was Fiji’s first ordained bishop and was hugely popular but divided the Catholic Church with his support of Frank Bainimarama and his illegal government.
Appointed Archbishop just two years after in 1976, Mataca went on to support the Peoples Charter and co-chaired the National Council for a Better Fiji with Bainimarama.
Unlike the Methodist Church, which challenged the illegal government, Mataca refused to endorse a statement by the Assembly of Christian Churches and the Fiji Council of Churches, which described Bainimarama and the military as ‘manifestations of darkness and evil.’
Mataca rejected the statement as hypocritical, saying the ACC and FCC had failed to denounce the 2000 coup.
He had criticised the George Speight coup, and the ‘discrmiminate destruction and burning of property, and looting.”
“It is the part of Fiji history (where) I am ashamed to (be) known as a Fiji islander,” he said at the time.
Mataca said the Catholic Church’s sympathy went to its ethnic Indian brothers and sisters, but heard, too, the frustration and anger of indigenous Fijians.
“We will journey with them until they feel secure in their identity, (in their) rights as indigenous (people) and in their stewardship of time, talents and treasures, including land given by God," he said.
|Mataca with John Samy and Bainimarama.|
A year later, he urged Christians not to get caught up in ethnic politics.
On being made a Companion of the Order of Fiji last year, he said “I think I am the only leader who has survived and come across all the coups in Fiji."
He said he was planning to write a book and that "Fiji is on the right path.”
Yet another decree amended
Mataca's passing comes as Fiji First and its officials at last declare their assets.
What an anti-climax: Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum were outed on their salaries and assets more than two years ago but both have played dumb despite repeated and renewed calls for transparency and accountability, even after they announced the September 17 election.
Both have dodged, tarried, and delayed so many times their 'compliance' this week is meaningless.
Any disclosure now is bound to be less than what the people deserve with any real information sanitised or waved away.
And not unexpected, yet another decree has been amended.
|NFP: Targeted in amended decree|
According to the regime the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013, has been adjusted to ensure political party leaders and officials who assumed leadership roles after their parties were registered declare their assets and liabilities, along with those of their wives and children.
Khaiyum claims it is a result of 'lack of transparency' by National Federation Party and Peoples Democratic Party executives who haven't declared assets and liabilities.
He says there have been changes in both NFP and PDP 'but
|PDP: Also targeted.|
The Electoral Decree 2014 has also been amended, confirming ballot papers will not carry the party name or logo, just the names of candidates, their photos and designated candidate number as earlier revealed.
Editor's Note: Further reading on Petero Mataca and the Peoples Charter, which appeared on C4.5 on Sunday April 2013 under the heading, Letter 'redeems' Fiji Charter advocates, is available on Wadan Narsey's blog.