The unconstitutional removal of a lawfully elected government should never be encouraged nor abetted by any Fijian. Legitimising coup culture in Fiji through later political processes of holding of general elections and imposition of constitutional changes after military coups by control and suppression of public demonstrations of dissent seemed to be the order in Fiji however must not be deemed nor accepted to be the order of good governance. With reference to former military officer and former Minister of Transport and Public Utilities Colonel Pio Tikoduadua’s Resurrection Day statement for reason of resigning from Parliament and Fiji First party, CCF denounced in the strongest terms any attempt to justify previous coups in Fiji.
The unsuccessful 2000 civilian coup was declared illegal by the High Court of Fiji in the Chandrika case of 2001. The 2006 military backed coup was also declared unlawful by the Fiji Court of Appeal in the Qarase vs Bainimarama case of 2009. In the 2001 Chandrika case, the court ruled that the ‘doctrine of necessity’ could not justify the abrogation of the Constitution. Furthermore, the Court established the legitimacy threshold of the regime after the coup under the doctrine of ‘effectiveness test’. These same principles of law were later upheld by the Fiji Court of Appeal in the 2009 Qarase vs Bainimarama case. Any attempts to justify coups or legitimising a regime without court declarations is an attack to citizen’s democratic and constitutional rights. Parliamentary election is the only lawful exercise that anyone or group must use to gain power and to rule a country.
CCF therefore believes that the now NFP candidate Colonel PioTikoduadua should cease from trying to give justification for the 2006 coup after being declared illegal by the Fiji Court of Appeal in 2009 as it is both mischievous and dangerous since he might be misleading the masses. Instead he should apologize first to all Fijians for his role in the wrongful and forceful takeover of the democratically elected Qarase Government in 2006; the ensued abrogation of the 1997 Constitution; party to issuing of draconian decrees that suppressed freedom of expression; torture and abused of civilians.
However, CCF believes that Col Tikoduadua’s political right to switch parties should be respected by all. He has a lot to contribute to Fiji’s political environment especially to his supporters from the 2014 general elections. His wish to re-enter the parliament using his political rights through the NFP ticket in 2018 will restore that.