The upcoming elections so far gives little confidence to the people that their voices will be heard. The concerns have been aired consistently by many. However, no action has been taken.
We have again seen a raw display of autocratic rule that is clearly a demonstration and reminder that an unelected government can never be transparent or accountable. The Attorney General has dismissed all these concerns raised.
Concerns on the electoral system, voting process, restrictions on Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations, media freedom, the use of taxpayers’ funds for campaign by the government, the involvement of senior civil servants by government and government statutory bodies to fund and assist in signature collection and campaign are just some of the many concerns.
To add to this, we have an Electoral Commission and a Supervisor of Elections who are completely oblivious to all these issues as if they live abroad and are unaware.
Let me give some concrete examples of abuse of government resources by this government.
The Sugar Research Institute employees using Company vehicles were instructed to visit farmers around Lautoka to collect signatures for the proposed Fiji First Party.
Four employees were paid wages for two weeks tocollect these signatures.
Tropikwood Industries Limited shut down the entire factory in Drasa to welcome the Prime Minister to distribute land lease money to landowners.
A big party was held at company cost for the entire day. On a second occasion the meal room for workers was opened by the PM. Again half a day of productivity was lost with other cost incurred.
Other government owned entities have been required to saddle the costs of the PM’s campaign.
The use ofgovernment vehicles is also a great concern. In many of these occasions we see an entourage of civil servants with almost 20 government vehicles running at a time.
Civil servants and Government Statutory organisations’ employees are forced to attend these events to show a crowd. This has become the norm.
More recently the re branding of the Fiji Sugar Corporation is another case in point. It is evident that where ever this PM goes, productivity is lost and massive costs are incurred unnecessarily.
This is a total waste of Government resources. We call upon the Auditor General to investigate and report on all these and more.
We also note that the Minister for Women and the Minister for Labour have suddenly have the urge to go on “road shows”.
We recognise that these so called road shows are nothing but campaigning.
People recognise this abuse and will respond on September 17.
Fiji can no longer afford the excesses and abuse of its limited resources like this any longer. Such behavior is irresponsible and unethical and cannot and should not be condoned.
The PDP demands that theElectoral Commission wake from their slumber and demonstrate independence and the will to act without fear.
This only will restore confidence in our people that we are truly on our way to democracy and freedom.
PDP Party Leader