The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum urges the Bainimarama government to take heed of the advice from the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) country report on Fiji to relax certain emergency measures in preparation for the Constitution consultations and the 2014 elections.
CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki stresses that such comments from the IMF are rare and can be utilized to gain further support from the international community and institutions in the form of enhanced technical and financial assistance which is needed in the constitutional and electoral reform agenda of the Bainimarama government.
CCF believes these emergency measures which have been put in place are the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012 and the State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree 2012 which fail to create a cohesive atmosphere for free and open dialogue on the pathway towards restoring constitutional democracy.
Relaxing control on the Media coupled by freedom of assembly will allow citizens to truly make meaningful contribution to change and to freely explore the contentious, sensitive and key issues such as:
· The validity of the 1997 Constitution,
· Role of the military,
· Choice on the preferred type of government,
· Role of the Great Council of Chiefs in future governments.
“Serious consideration should be given to review the various decrees that create apprehension amongst stakeholders and citizens alike, as people should now be encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue, whether in public or private, without fear,” says Reverend Yabaki.
“It is also timely to reaffirm the current government’s earlier assurances that there will be no impediment in the processes by invoking certain provisions in the two decrees, which could stop individuals or organizations, whether political or not from raising their views.”
“At this critical juncture, all Fijians should be encouraged to participate without fear and we reiterate that there will always be potential spoilers, however, in such a critical process, every citizen should have a say. They must be allowed to express their views so the debate and discussion on key national issues and the way forward reflect the views of all citizens of Fiji,” stresses Reverend Yabaki.