As the nation prepares to head into democratic elections in less than three months, political parties are encouraged to clearly outline their policies on land. Political parties and commentators have expressed concerns about the loss of iTaukei control over land in the 2013 Constitution and various decrees. Given the history of land issues, this has had the effect of instilling fear and creating uncertainty amongst both landowners and tenants.
CCF is of the view that any discussion involving land must be free of ethnic politics. Political parties and independent candidates should refrain from instilling fear into iTaukei landowners and ensure that the protection of the legitimate interests of all communities and groups will become part of the national ethic and practice. If we are to find solutions to Fiji‘s land policies, drawing from the experience of people at the grassroots is paramount.
Workshops held by CCF back in turbulent years of early 2000’s agreed that there is a need for expert research and analysis on Fiji’s ongoing land problems and that politicians should stop using the land debate for their own ends.
CCF encourages politicians to start engaging in dialogues with the landlords, tenants, the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB), the Land Bank and land governing authorities to reach a substantive solution to Fiji’s land issues.
Land politics has hindered Fiji from moving forward and this has been evident from the first coup in 1987. Key players should focus on finding collaborative solutions to the problem, rather than politicizing the issue.
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