STOP BICKERING, START CAMPAIGING

 

By : Sachin Anand Balram

Andykam007@comcast.net

 

 

Once again, the beautiful islands of Fiji are embroiled in an election fever. The blame game is on full swing. Vilification of the opponents by innuendos and false advertising is flaring up like wild fire. Be that as it may, no one seems to know exactly how the five political parties are going to defeat the newly formed FijiFirst party. All we know, so far, is that general election will be held on September 17, 2014. The major political parties already registered, have revealed very little about their platform. The politicians have disclosed very little about their manifestos. Almost a quarter of the electorate is not sure if they will go to the polling station or not. The ballot paper is still being scrutinized for its final form; the party leaders are still interviewing candidates. One wonders what were they doing since January of this year. While the other parties are still gearing up, Bainimarama/Khaiyum are still bent on doing unscrupulous things so that they can win the election. The opposing parties are just reacting, retaliating, dilly-dallying and redacting to what Bainimarama and Khaiyum have done in the past and/ or are in the process of doing. It is high time that we let the happenings of the yester- years become distant memory (good or bad) and save energy, time and money to focus on positive thoughts and ideas about getting a politically strong party in power.

 

It is high time for the politicians to get on the bandwagon and take their message to the masses. Fiji’s electorate is curious, anxious and hungry to know in some detail the plan of action of each party. Is the time not ripe to stop bickering about what has happened in the past and focus like a laser on what needs to be done to improve the country under a five year plan? Is it not getting late to choose the best candidate for each party and let them loose on the streets, villages , towns and cities so that they can make a case for their party? Is it not getting late to convince the electorate why they should cast the vote for the best candidate? Why are party leaders wasting so much of time and energy on what Bainimarama and Khaiyum have done during the past eight years? Fiji people know that they had to live under a regime of dictatorship and dictators rule their country with a big stick. It is either “my way or the highway” as one saying goes. It should not be forgotten that one of the fundamental difference between Democracy and Dictatorship is that democracy believes in freedoms of speech, press and association and transparency whereas Dictatorship believes that there should be no freedom and there should be no opposition to dictator’s party and there should be no accountability. In a democracy- major issues are settled by discussions and agreements. On the other hand, in a dictatorship, all major issues are resolved by the dictator and his cahoots and his armed forces.

 

If the polls are any indicators, it appears that FijiFirst Party will have a landslide victory on September 17, 2014. If that happens, it will be another very sad day for Fiji, just like, the four coups in nineteen years. To bring about change in a country like Fiji, it will no doubt be difficult. Many controversial issues like race-relations, land tenure, massive unemployment, stuttering economic growth, poor infra-structure etc., needs to be carefully thought out and then a program implemented to resolve them. It may take years to resolve these complex issues. And, since Bainimarama/ Khaiyum have already started to tackle some of these issues, people of Fiji may be thinking that a change will not do any good. Hence, why change the leadership of Bainimarama/Khaiyum oligarchy when we just do not know what the new governing party will bring to the table. As any psychologist will tell you, masses of people will often want to remain mired in misery rather than to make a change. As the saying goes, “better off with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know “. That is the reason why Bainimarama is leading so far ahead in the polls. It does not matter how unscientific and small these polls are – people are feeling comfortable with FijiFirst party and are prepared to cast their vote for Fiji First.

 

Hence, party leaders – let’s begin a spirited issue-based campaign forthwith. Let’s start debating and thrashing out the issues. Let’s start strategizing, let’s stop the acrimonious and spiteful accusatory and the blaming game. It will not get anyone anywhere, leave alone, getting the votes. Party leaders should create inspiring visions. Party leaders should create certainty of process with clear simple steps and timetables. If we want to bring about major change, it will entail hard work, grit, drive determination and desire to bring about a change. It has to start with the party leaders. It appears that Fiji politicians are oblivious of the fact that if one wants to bring about change then past resentments, hatred, evil thoughts about fellow politicians are be left at the door way of their house. Any courageous leader must offer goodwill gestures to opposition to heal the past, before sailing into the future. This should not be a hard thing to do for any brave, wise, patriotic, loyal and strong leader.

 

I vividly recall when I was growing up in Lautoka during mid-sixties and early seventies, the two major political parties, namely, Alliance and Federation used to hold political rallies at least once a month. They would start at least one year in advance of the general election day. Political rallies were held on the same day, usually Saturday morning. One party will have its rally in Churchill Park and the other party will hold the rally on the grounds next to the Lautoka market. If the wind was blowing in the right direction, one could hear speakers from both sides on blaring sound systems. Both parties had fiery leaders who hated each other’s guts and ideologies. Despite all that bitterness, candidates did their utmost in propounding issues and providing ideas to resolve them. They fought their campaign on issues and ideologies not on personal grudges and vendettas.

 

I guess times have changed. The modern era politics requires much more than just discussion about relevant issues. The politicians are bent on destroying the opponents in totality. They have plenty of money and team of lawyers giving them wrong advice most of the time. They will not stop at anything until the opponent is completely de-valued in the eyes of the voters. For few politicians, this type of smearing technique works -but only sometimes. Any political science student will tell you that most of the time, it does not. The voters these days are much smarter, informed and intelligent. Voters are able to figure out the truth and know the difference between just smoke and mirrors, innuendos and malicious untruths and that borne from genuine ideologies and programs from honest leaders with genuine desire to make their country prosperous for all the people.

 

It will be worthy for the party leaders to note that in some countries they have “Voluntary Code of Fair Campaign” agreement amongst the major political parties. They get together and enter into an agreement vowing “not to use or permit to be used any malicious untruths or scurrilous innuendos about the opponent’s personal life nor will they make or condone unfounded accusations discrediting that person’s integrity “. Maybe, it is high time that the major political party leaders of Fiji should get together and come up with some type of Voluntary Code of similar nature. This way, at least we can force the aspiring candidates to start campaigning about major issues like, improving economy, solving land issues, housing, lowering food prices, job creation, education, health, taxes, sugar, tourism, helping farmers, creating small industries, overseas investments, race relations, alleviating poverty, equal rights, reducing crime, improving infra-structure and hundreds of other controversial issues that are constantly bothering the people of Fiji. There is no time left to continue to run down Bainimarama and Khaiyum oligarchy. Bickering will not get any party anywhere. Only healthy, relentless and constructive campaigning based on issues, will win the election.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Balram

    Good article.

    You say that if the polls are correct and FF comes with a landslide victory, it would be a sad day.

    Why man? Isn’t that democracy and isn’t your whole article on the power of the people.

    You can’t say democracy and not accept the will of the people if its not your choice.

  2. James
    You miss the point. Balram is saying that people will stick with the devil they know due to lack of campaigning by the alternative parties. People sometimes vote out of fear. Some people are saying “we might as well vote for FF to prevent another coup if they happen to lose”. The citizenry of Fiji feel very defeated at the moment.

    SODELPA are embracing indo-Fijian members. Fiji is now closer to unity because of the collective hatred of Khaiyum. Even many who support FF hate Khaiyum. In time to come the illegal and corrupt AG may be the very catalyst for unity that Fiji has been yearning for. United in their hatred of Khaiyum and everything he stands for.

    When people vote with a defeated mentality or out of fear, one cannot regard that as democracy or the will of the people.

    If FF win it will be more than sad. It will be an utter tragedy,

  3. Bainimamra /Khayium have ruled for 8 years and brought suffering to the people except themselves and their family. Their live a life of luxury.
    No coup makers should ever be voted by the people.
    8 years is enough.
    Give chance to others as people in power for too long means corruption, nepotism and bad governance. All these are evident in everyday life.The people need a change.
    Do not blame other political parties as they have no media freedom to speak freely..Only Khayium can speak and that is gospel. He is the culprit to the problem in our beautiful country.He is implementing his master’s thesis on the Fijian people and in the process making money..

  4. When Bainimarama took Fiji hostage in a military coup to escape from being arrested for treason, murder, corruption and a list of other crimes.

    A number of other things have risen or gotten worse since Bainimarama, the dictator, took over. This includes:
    over 1000% increase for Bainimarama and Khaiyum’s salaries
    over 150% increase for salaries of unqualified military officers in permanent secretary roles
    the national debt has increased to Fiji’s highest ever with every man, woman and child now owing over 7 billion in overseas debt
    unemployment is at a record high
    poverty is at a record high
    cost of living has reached its highest point ever
    corruption is at a record high
    mismanagement and abuse of office is also at an all time high
    crime has increased
    theft of native lands has increased
    etc.

  5. I and my yavusa and Tikina, as we all discussed at a combined meeting last week will fight for and vote for SODELPA………kai NAMOSI

  6. GET RID EVIL FROM FIJI

    So the election bell has rung and political parties are running to people to cash votes. Some parties are registered and some not registered still allowed to campaign with tax payers dollars. No doubt parties will barrage people with their manifestos, past records, candidate’s perception and off course giving lollipops.
    However to me this election will be unique and will go down into the history of Fiji. In my view this election is only about evil versus good, justice vs injustice, truth vs lies , ethics vs unethics, principle vs unprincipled , rule of law vs, jungle law, freedom vs captivity, tyrant vs liberator and finally 1997 constitution vs baikum constitution . This election is also about good governance and what we are leaving for youths, new born and more for next generation.
    Many people including around world they are praising this circus or animal farm we can call, for road development, picnic spot creativity and killing of all the Fijian customs etc. However this coup has diluted or destroyed many institutions which were unprecedented in previous coup. Institutions such as Judiciary, Police, Universities, Schools. Again I ask people of Fiji what legacy are we leaving to the next generation. Roads and buildings will come and go (just see after the floods damaged roads) but the reputation of this institution will be hard to built over night.
    What has Bainimarama and his junglee supporters done to its prestige? I asked every children, friends, parents whose next of kin are part of this circus, to see in their eyes and question them what have they done. Are we slowly installing like coup culture, culture of violence, raping of democracy, treason, thug, deception, torture, extortion and murders. Later it may become an extra curriculum in schools as that’s what this illegal junta is demonstrating.
    Therefore by voting this Bainimarama circus we are endorsing all these poisons in the society. For records sake Bainimarama /Khaiyum has:
    • Taken away our freedom of speech
    • Taken away our right to live freely
    • Taken away our land
    • Given debt of $7.5b to pay
    • Given flawed constitution
    • Making insult and torture as norm for any uprising
    • Corruption and nepotism
    Bainimarama as person is a failed person, failed leader, failed military man hence will failed the nation .If ever there is a elected government , Bainimarama and his circus team all should be tried for treason .
    If Bainimarama /Khaiyum are so confident that they have done good to Fiji why so much restriction in election, why not just fight under old system where chance of vote rigging is nil. But current system chance is very high and I have a clue what they up to.

  7. Finally it is now with the people to decide what society they want to built, again VOTE FOR BAINIMARAMA IS VOTE FOR EVIL, CORRUPTION AND TORTURE. Please cast your vote carefully as you may get this only chance and if he comes in power there may be no more election until he dies a dog death. Only issue in this election will be Good vs Evil, rest issues are garbage’s.

  8. I seriously doubt these Fiji Sun polls. They are rigged in order to be consistent with the election results that will also be rigged by Khaiyum.

  9. Annon 12.34pm

    $7.5billion, did you just smoke pot?

    Go back to sleep.

    You make such stupid posts that people lose trust on the blogsite.

    SDL took more debt than the current regime. Ask MPC. That was one reason he told Frank to do the coup.

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