#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Fiji: A new president elected

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fiji: A new president elected

by Professor Brij Lal

On 12 October 2015, the Fijian parliament elected a new president, Major General Jioji Konrote, over the opposition nominee Ratu Epeli Ganilau, son of Fiji’s first president Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau. Konrote becomes the first non-indigenous Fijian and the first persons of non-chiefly background to occupy that high office. 

Under Fiji’s 2013 Constitution, the president is the Head of State who exercises ceremonial functions and responsibilities and acts only on the advice of Cabinet or a Minister. Expected to be a person of exemplary character with a record of distinguished service and, at the time of election, without any party political affiliation, the president also acts as the ceremonial commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

Major General Konrote fits the bill on all these counts. He is a distinguished former military officer, having joined the Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1968, and capping his career as the only Fijian solder so far to act as Force Commander of UNIFIL. 

Upon retirement, he became the permanent secretary of Home Affairs and Immigration and later Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia. In 2006, he joined the unequivocally Fijian nationalist party of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL), and was appointed Minister of State for Immigration. 

In the 2014 general elections, he opportunistically changed sides and joined Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party, SDL successor’s sworn enemy, and was appointed Minister of Employment, Labour Relations and Productivity. Such personal and political contortions are not uncommon in Fiji. Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola was a key architect of the 1987 coup but now professes non-racialism.


Konrote’s elevation was as much a surprise as it was controversial. The person most frequently mentioned as the likely government nominee was former high court judge, Fiji’s current ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Nazhat Shameem, but her reputation was judged too compromised by the murky events surrounding the coup of 2006 to command widespread support and respect across the communities, especially among nationalist-minded indigenous Fijians to whom the presence of any Indo-Fijian in a high office is an anathema. 

It was expected that the President would be a consensus candidate as befitting an office symbolizing the unity of the nation. But Prime Minister Bainimarama is by temperament and inclination not one for consensus politics. Colloquially put, it is either his way or the highway. The National Federation Party, with three members in parliament, abstained from voting in protest against the government’s unilateral decision. Konrote received 31 votes to Ganilau’s 14.

In hindsight, Konrote’s appointment is a safe bet for the Bainimarama government for several reasons. Unlike the person he defeated, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, he does not have an independent political base of his own. Ganilau did, as a scion of the chiefly system, backed by the majority indigenous Fijian political party. 

It is a strange irony that upon retirement as the commander of the Fijian military in 1999 to join politics, Ganilau had nominated Bainimarama as his successor and had served in his post-2006 coup administration as Minister of Home Affairs. Konrote is from Rotuma, a small island group some 641 kilometres northwest of Fiji which has, despite its tiny size, provided a disproportionate number of senior public figures in Fiji. 

Paul Manueli was Fiji’s first local commander of the Fiji military. Daniel Fatiaki was Fiji’s chief justice and Visanti Makarava was the head of the now bankrupt National Bank of Fiji. Their success has bred silent resentment among many Fijians.

Konrote is a person of indeterminate, malleable political persuasion, not one with an identifiable political conviction, having served in two bitterly opposed political camps in the span of a few years, one fiercely nationalistic and the other that professes multiracialism. 

He will be no threat to the government. Konrote’s military background will reassure the military which enjoys a guardian role over the constitution. Former members of the military now occupy some of the most prominent positions in the country, as president, prime minister, several cabinet ministers, permanent heads of departments, and as diplomats. 

The military now has unprecedented visibility in Fiji’s public life, and the nexus between the military and politics which will only strengthen in years ahead. It is widely believed that Konrote will keep the presidential seat warm until Bainimarama is ready to move up to the Government House after another term or two in parliament.

Bainimarama’s Fiji is a deeply polarized society. The government’s bulldozing approach is deeply resented, and indigenous Fijians feel that their interests and concerns are disregarded. 

Ganilau was nominated by the opposition following the traditional protocols of consultation with Fiji’s leading Fijian confederacies (traditional power groupings); his defeat will simply serve to reinforce the feeling of marginalization and exclusion. 

President Jioji Konrote, who will take office in November upon the retirement of the incumbent, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has a tough road ahead of him, fulfilling his constitutionally prescribed roles and healing the self-inflicted wounds in his country.

24 comments:

  1. PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama called on Fijians to rededicate themselves to the Fijian ideals as he celebrated Fiji Day with the Fiji community in Australia over the weekend.

    Mr Bainimarama said being Fijian was much more than having a common name saying instead that it means love one another and have a caring heart.

    "Yalo loloma, as we say in the iTaukei language. It also means being patriotic.

    "Loving Fiji and thinking about the welfare of our nation and all its citizens and not just about ourselves and those around us," Mr Bainimarama said.

    Mmmmmmmmmm.... maybe Mr. Jioji could share his new house and money with the poor?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Loved the way Mrs Bainimarama was walking around Fiji Day... Loud as a fart... Expecting people to bow down... No class and no standard...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Details
    Company name
    Waqavuka Financing Limited
    Company number
    IE523015
    Company type
    Other
    Incorporation date
    28 Jan 2013
    Type of accounts filing
    Full Accounts
    Latest annual returns
    08 Sep 2015
    Latest annual accounts
    31 Dec 2014
    SIC 2003
    7123 — Renting Of Air Transport Equipment
    SIC 2007
    77351 — Renting And Leasing Of Passenger Air Transport Equipment
    Website
    Add website
    Social Media
    Registered Address
    Pinnacle 2
    Eastpoint Business Park
    Dublin 3
    Ireland


    ReplyDelete

  4. Business Rates/Property Tax
    No properties were found where WAQAVUKA FINANCING LIMITED is liable for the business rates / property tax. This could be for a number of reasons.
    The council hasnt published the data
    We havent found or been able to process the councils data
    The company is part of a group of companies and another company in the group is liable for business rates
    The registered office may be a residential address which does not have a commercial designation. If the business is run from home then it won't be a commercial property and hence won't be liable for business rates.
    Serviced offices are increasingly popular and therefore a business may not be paying business rates directly - the building owner is and this is incorporated in the office rental charge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ILEGAL activities anon 10.51.
      Will FICAC take this on?
      There's not enough ground anyway if what you mentioned is true.

      On the subject, of course President and Kubuabola will take on anything offered by any ruling party. If for instance, a new Western govt is formed, they will be the first to jump ship.

      Delete
  5. "President Jioji Konrote, who will take office in November upon the retirement of the incumbent, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has a tough road ahead of him, fulfilling his constitutionally prescribed roles and healing the self-inflicted wounds in his country."

    "self-inflicted wounds" is the proper way to put it.
    it reminds of the flag saga...

    For Fiji, ever Fiji!
    The land of freedom, hope and glory!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jioji Konrote is an excellent choice for the presidency, so I'm expecting him to do better than Frankie in being more of a humble humanitarian to the people like Epeli Nailatikau.

    Those self-inflicted wounds sorely need healing, as long as it isn't from those same morons who first started stabbing the country in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a shame that people with good reputations, sully them by accepting appointments from a treasonous Regime toward the end of their illustrious careers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man.....ing the toilet.....October 22, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      We're you on the Fiji day cruise? 'twould have been a good opportunity for you to settle the score!!
      sorry you couldn't make it.....next year you can bring dessert.... Gelignite!

      Delete
  8. Narsey what are you're trying the prove that you're just as bad an asseoles as Frank&Khaiyum? If you were smart- if that is what you're
    trying to show us here- than why didn't you established something
    constructive for our Democracy at a time when you were DOUBLE DIPPING
    as Member of the Fiji Parliament & USP academic staff? You couldn't
    stop yourself including others from taking 2 pay cheques from the
    public coffers due to your personal greed? Buddy, you don't have a leg to stand on...like the saying goes-what's good the goose is also
    good for the genda? Narsey, look man, we don't need your shit, respect
    your safe haven and discuss your shits with your students and stop
    trying to be a know all to us in Fiji???? Good luck in your new haven?

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1.17..asshole. did you think straight or what? .what Narsey has to do with this topic. Brij Lal is the one making comment here.? and Narsey was never an MP.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 10:04AM...asshole Narsey was a former MP for 10 years!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Prof Bridge Lal comment "Konrote is from Rotuma, a small island group some 641 kilometres northwest of Fiji which has, despite its tiny size, provided a disproportionate number of senior public figures in Fiji. " Really - I thought it was merit based! What would you say when Ratu Mara had several Permanent Secretaries from various Islands from the Lau Group including various Heads of Dept? From Vanua Balavu if memory services right, 2 Ministers & 3 PS, 4 Drs we haven't included the other professions yet. All of PS & Ministers studied overseas ie Australia, NZ, UK! Pro Bridge Lal needs to get past his bias it tends to sully his attempt at constructive criticism.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brij Lal? Narsey? What difference? Brij Lal is married to Narsey's sister..Padma.

    ReplyDelete
  13. c4.5 & Fijileaks send your investigation team to Nawailevu in Bua and check out what the contractors have done....check river mouths,and check how they closed off a rive,the river that feed Dreketi rice irrigation ....you'll can't imagine/believe your find....do something pliz Bua people are being conned by Bainimarama & khaiyum.
    Please compile a report on these issues for future references...no one in civil servant responsible in these issues dare to question higher authority for fear of termination.
    The social media is the only source of hope available at this very moment.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey Brij...your constitution didn't work out well-i wonder why? Do
    you have an explanation & answer to why it didn't hold up too well?
    Sorry, i don't think that Khaiyum would pay any attention to your bull
    and i'm sure he's probably giving you the middle fingure reading all
    your shit? Can you believe it, Khaiyum constitution seems to be holding-up quite good-sofar and the son of a gun is not even an academic like yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  15. 2 29..."seems to be holding up quite good so far" because it was shoved upon our throats. Whether it's good as you said or biased like we and the world saw it, Khaiyums and Franks constitution is ilegal.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kai Bua. ..agree with your laments. When we are governed by a dictatorial administration our grievences, complaints and voice are secondary to their primary and personal goals. We understand also the fear that you and your community have been put through in respect of any govts hit backs. Don't lose hope. We are with you and your story here is broadcasted for our audience here and worldwide.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Brij over troubled watersOctober 29, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    Seriously, every time I start feeling sorry for Brij Lal, he writes something like this attack on George Konrote and I just want to slap him. Why are you banned from Fiji, Girmit? Because you are a low-down cowardly self promoter who is always trying to stir up trouble. You are not half the man Konrote is, so brave that he has the Military Cross for his courage in Lebanon. So he served in governments on both sides. So what? he was trying to SERVE. Not like you, run off to Australia and snipe from the sidelines with your fat cat salary from the ANU. You and Padma should just go down to the coast in Australia somewhere and lead quiet lives and forget about Fiji. Why? Because you are not even Fijian. You are Australian and you have no right to expect to be welcome back when like an ungrateful dog, you shit on the country's doorstep. An old bore who hangs around with the likes of Simione Katani and other SDL malcontents. Good riddance.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I guess today is the official retirement date for the former President
    Epeli Nailatikau & the official first day of business for our new
    President-Jioji Konrote? I suppose our former President will now
    be receiving a Government living allowance and lifetime pension.I mean
    how can he continue his upper-class lively hood without a pension? Hey
    who knows, Khaiyum may have set up an overseas Bank account for him
    as well?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Repeat telecast...
    100 million unaccounted- 120 job loss at PSC.$234 million FSC loss last 5yrs- $0.71 farmer payout.Fiji Graduates not recognized- expatriates fill CEO position.Executive Chairman posts - only for khaiyum family.Foreign Affairs posting, only for Bainimarama family and friends.We promised you Fiji there will be no job cuts and any increase in cost of living said Fiji First Party.Vote Fiji First..."

    ReplyDelete
  20. It is unfortunate that most are missing the gist of the view expressed by the writer and are personalizing the issue which is making the ground unplayable and destroying enthusiasm in the discussion. Be considerate to fellow citizens of this beautiful country.

    ReplyDelete

Please verify to prove you're not a robot.