Fiji trade unions will flout electoral decree
The Fiji Trade Union Congress says it is going to intentionally flout a new decree by the regime, placing restrictions on political parties.
The Decree says the nomination of an independent candidate is not valid unless it is accompanied by 1,000 registered voter signatures, containing their addresses, occupations and voter numbers.
The congress president, Daniel Urai, told Christopher Gilbert the regime is not sticking to the Decree so neither will the unions.
DANIEL URAI: I’ve stood for two elections in this country as a trade unionist. Previously there has been no restrictions on my rights. This Decree makes a mockery of the constitution that they have put out. Firstly, under the constitution, we have rights that are intact. Then, they make little laws like this Decree to limit those rights. I can see that the Bainimarama regime are fearful of the trade union movement.
CHRISTOPHER GILBERT: Do you think they could be looking for more reasons, or creating reasons, to potentially imprison unionists?
DU: That is exactly the reason, I’m sure that they are directing people, if we do attend a political meeting to have us arrested.
CG: What do you think about the consistency of the regime in declaring this Decree and sticking to it themselves?
DU: Well Frank Bainimarama and Khaiyum have never been consistent in what they say and do. It’s unfortunate for the people of Fiji, who will have to bare with this.
CG: Are unionists and opposition groups going to pay any credence to this or are they going to flout it?
DU: Well, the trade unions will flout this Decree. We treat it as a joke, really, in this country. We’ll have to see what they do about that.
CG: Even with the risk of fine and imprisonment you’re still going to flout it?
DU: We have to fight the injustice. You cannot fight injustice by abiding with laws or decrees, whatever they put out. We’ll have to fight them. The laws that Frank and Khaiyum have made, they are opening flouting by Frank campaigning for quite some time using tax payers money. He has not registered a political party but yet he moves around as if he already has a political party. Now, what is worse, he has named his political party after another group that have made claims to have been registering a political party, that he’s named for himself. So he’s flouting the law in this country and the police service, the military service, everybody sits back and nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.
CG: Do you think the people know? In terms of the voters, do they recognise that it’s being flouted by the regime itself?
DU: The people, the voters in Fiji know that they’re flouting the laws in this country. The result will appear when they put pen to paper and vote.