Postdate: 13/ 12/ 2007
Fiji Sun/Fiji Times
I beg to differ from Mr. Kenneth Zinck’s position (10/12/07) that December 5, 2006 coup was the sole cause of the mess this country now finds itself in.
CCF like others did strongly condemn the military takeover of December 2006 as unnecessary. Having done so however, we decided to remain engaged and be available in the rethinking that needs to take place now about new directions for the country. We too have become the target of criticism from the likes of Kenneth Zinck. Welcome to the party with your respective points of view.
Our support for the People’s Charter process is not uncritical for we have made proposals such as the need to look at the place of the Military in the political future of this country. We do believe that the People’s Charter as a process could provide some new possibilities of political dialogue.
The fact that an air of uncertainty prevails is understandable and it has built up as a consequence not only of the 2006 coup but rather because of the downward spiral which began after the Rabuka coup of 1987 and was worsened by the 2000 coup.
The moral imperative to remain engaged with the messiness of our world is part of the theology of incarnation which Christians especially should reflect upon at this time of the year. In order to undo the wrongs of the past, we should not stand aside but be engaged.
I share the hope expressed by Zinck that our judiciary will remain independent when delivering judgement on what he described as the “land mark court case”. I recall the landmark Chandrika Prasad court case of 2001 – in which CCF played a leading role and which resulted in the 1997 Constitution being restored in a year. This was despite attempts by Laisenia Qarase, the coup leaders of 2000 and the military to abolish it. At this time, history seems to be repeating itself, but only with actors changing roles.
For one thing, if the true spirit of democracy is to be respected, then political parties’ manifestos and policies should be geared for the development of the whole nation. In Fiji’s case, the fact that political parties only cater for particular ethnic groups means that when they come into power, they do not have a national focus and thus propagate racial divisiveness and prejudice.
A possible way to deal with this would be if racial elements were removed from the electoral system. All parties would then be obliged to cater for the needs, aspirations and well-beings of all members of the country. Where a party is promoting policies that can be racially discriminating of other ethnic groups, they should be disqualified from contesting the elections. Some of us believe the People’s Charter process should aim at achieving these objectives and think it is worth a try.