Government must walk the talk on “transparency and accountability” in the final phase of the constitution making process to garner citizens confidence.
CCF recommends firstly that all submissions, petitions and Position papers received during this period be made public as required under the Fiji Constitution (Constitution Commission Decree) which required the commission to make the submissions received accessible to the public for scrutiny.
CCF also recommends that an Independent Reference Group of constitutional experts, academics, private sector and representatives from citizenry be appointed to look into the submissions received on the GDC and provide assistance in finalizing the document to ensure transparency in the process and that the legal drafters are held accountable to the people of Fiji.
It is also vital to make public the mechanisms, methodology, and or other processes which are being used to analyze the submissions, petitions and position papers received, particularly highlighting the major concerns received from the people of Fiji on the GDC.
With revelations by the Prime Minister that the final constitution is expected by mid June, CCF also calls on the Bainimarama government to permanently repeal section 8 of the Public Order Amendment Decree, which is expected to be re-instated once the constitution is finalized.
CCF believes that both the State and civil society must engage more constructively in dialogue and through the open forums and debates that will likely emerge over the next 14 months addressing issues of serious contentions.
CCF also calls on the Bainimarama government to adhere to universal best practices and set up an interim administration by April 2014, six months before the planned elections in September to provide the final phases of the ever changing democratization process some legitimacy.
Finally, CCF reiterates that given that the agenda for the democratization process has shifted many times, the State, members of the international community and the citizens must recognize that this final phase of drafting the constitution is critical as it will determine how we approach the elections initially but more importantly how it will shape the state of governance post September, 2014.