Fiji First leader Voreqe Bainimarama and his secretary general Aiyaz Khaiyum are themselves the most “discredited” politicians in Fiji today.
They need to acknowledge this and stop hurling abuse at politicians who had won the mandate of the people of Fiji through democratically held elections, Labour said in response to allegations by the Fiji First Leader at his party’s launch that “discredited old politicians were lying to the people”.
Bainimarama’s worn out line of campaign is to accuse politicians of lying when, in fact, his own record shows a litany of lies since the Army takeover of 2006. Chief among these are his promises to the people of Fiji to protect the 1997 constitution, to hold elections within two years, to clean out corruption and an assurance that no one in the Army will benefit from the 2006 coup.
None of these promises was kept. He has come out as the biggest beneficiary of the coup – even taking a promotion in the Navy post-retirement, possibly, to boost his pension.
On the land issue, it is a fact that the unilaterally imposed 2013 Constitution has removed the entrenched provisions of both ALTA and the Native Lands Trust Act as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution. This is a matter of great concern to both the landowner and tenant communities.
Mr. Bainimarama has been giving away land to foreigners without following proper procedures (China Railways). He has interfered with the rights of landowners and the administration of the TLTB.
His challenge to other political parties to state their position on the distribution of native land lease monies is hollow. For us, this is an issue which should be decided by the landowners themselves without any interference from the government.
Our counter challenge to him is to account for his salary payments from April 2010 onwards.
He boasts about his regime’s achievements. What achievements, we ask?
In the 8 years of his governance, Fiji has seen high social distress with escalat-ing poverty, rising costs of living and unemployment. There is a complete lack of accountability and transparency in the handling of public moneys; the country is running on borrowed money. There is rampant corruption and an absolute disregard for the rule of law.
Mr Bainimarama and his AG need to understand that imposing decrees and making autocratic and arbitrary decisions that breach people’s rights, is no way to run a nation.