PULLING THE PLUG ON FIJI – Fiji’s ‘Return to Democracy’ looking increasingly improbable

The Foreign Ministers of Australia and New Zealand are intelligent men. It is therefore very surprising that, in their recent ‘handling’ of Fiji’s alleged return to democracy and their relations with the Fiji regime they have been duped by someone who is very well known for being unintelligent – the current illegal Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama.

All you can expect from this self-titled leader is more lies and broken promises.

All you can expect from this self-titled leader is more lies and broken promises.

The Council for a Democratic Fiji has repeatedly in the past pointed out the stunning gullibility of the powers that be in Australia and New Zealand towards the lies, oppression and recalcitrance of the Fiji regime, but apparently without avail. The Movement now respectfully suggests to the learned Foreign Ministers and their Governments that they should finally abandon this misconceived ‘hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil’ approach to the Fiji regime.

Specifically we call on Australia and New Zealand to abandon rapprochement towards the Fiji regime. The regime is duping them in saying that it has any sincere desire to return to true democracy. (It asserts that that step is being fulfilled by preparation of a new Constitution and preparations for elections in 2014.)

The present rapprochement process began just after the middle of last year, at whose inspiration it is not known, although the New Zealand Foreign Minister appears to be at least proximately the chief suspect, but of course he may have been galvanised by other powers. It followed the alleged expose by the New Zealand authorities of an asserted assassination plot, which expose led to the Army controlled Fiji media praising New Zealand for guarding the back of the alleged Fiji Prime Minister. (The New Zealand authorities have, however never provided any evidence for their allegation of there being ‘convincing proof’ of such a conspiracy).

Within a week or so of the expose the New Zealand Foreign Minister was in Fiji and the process of cosying up to an alleged transition to democracy was well under way, ignoring all the lies, deceit and persistent oppression of the past.

What has been happening since the beginning of this rapprochement process?

  • The Army remains in full control;
  • Australian and New Zealand taxpayers have contributed substantially to the alleged process for return to democracy;
  • The draft Constitution prepared by a world recognised expert has been burnt on the orders of the alleged Attorney General (Australian and New Zealand taxpayers contributed to the costs of the preparation of this draft);
  • The regime has (via the alleged Attorney General) purported to enact a Decree (illegal as are all Decrees of the regime) inhibiting and putting excessive restrictions upon the registration of political parties, including placing such registration in the hands of a person who like all other public personages in Fiji is totally under Army control, and illegally expropriating the assets of any party not complying with its draconian provisions;
  • The vast majority of existing political parties have been wiped off the face of the map by non compliance with the said Decree;
  • Draconian Decrees restricting unions which have been subject of complaint and proceedings by the International Labour Organisation have not been amended;
  • The leader of the party which achieved the highest number of votes in the last democratic election continues to languish in jail.

Any person who ignores these Signs of the Times can only call himself or herself  a monkey who can see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

As we and many others have pointed out before, the current alleged Prime Minister and Attorney General have no more credibility (and probably far less) than used car salesmen. Their word means nothing.

Any ‘election’ held under Army rule will be a farce and the Army is not letting go – it would not be an election.

We ask Australia and New Zealand to abandon the current misconceived rapprochement with the regime, and to stop the irresponsible waste  of Australian and New Zealand taxpayers money into attempting to carry out that mistaken step.

Simply Pull the Plug on them.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
1st March 2013
Cfdfiji.org

The Military Council must Act to Oust Khaiyum and Restore the Rule of Law – CFDFiji.org

The recent spate of controversies including the shocking revelations from Justice William Marshall QC and the imminent crisis of massive redundancies that would occur once the US sanctions kicks-in; the Military Council has a solemn duty to act and oust Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum from Office of the Attorney General. 

In April 2009, Khaiyum deceptively advised the Military Council to abrogate the 1997 Constitution by taking advantage of the ailing late President Ratu Josefa Iloilo contrary to the pathway set out by the Fiji Court of Appeal for the return of democratic rule. The devious plan of Khaiyum was a self-serving charade of creating a so-called new legal order away from Commodore Bainimarama’s set commitment to the international community within the 97 Constitution. The Khaiyum plan was completely divorced from the original President’s mandate which necessitated the preservation of the 1997 Constitution. His plan was to ensure his long haul in power as Attorney General.  Seemingly, calculative and cunning plot to entrap the Commodore hopelessly beyond the point of return so that he can prolong his stay.

In it lies the ultimate betrayal of the military council’s commitment to return to early elections and a conspiracy to disenfranchise the people of Fiji of their political rights for a very long time. It is little wonder that his father Sayed Khaiyum is seeking to have the 2014 General Elections delayed to 2020.

By 2010, Khaiyum settled in his position neatly surrounded by a small group of leeches who were in it for rewarding contracts and consultancies. He went on a rampage of churning out decrees that starting to occupy public space with media under his tight control through censorship. He then started to weaken the Military Council by plotting against senior military officers who were continuously advising the Commodore to remain committed to the pledge made to the Pacific Forum and the European Union in 2007.

By August 2010, his venom had infiltrated the Council with me and Brigadier General Pita Driti accused on plotting a coup which was really a smokescreen to weaken the military council and make him the exclusive advisor to the Commodore. Sadly he succeeded.

Three and half years after the abrogation of the Constitution; Khaiyum has silenced most of the critics on trumped up charges, created a self-censoring media, stripped the workers of Fiji of their fundamental internationally accepted rights through  the essential services decrees and is gaping like an owl to see the aftermath.  It should be clear to all now that Khaiyum and his group of advisers have hijacked the President’s Mandate and the Appeals Court Ruling for their own selfish agenda.  Fiji has been under the destructive and divisive policies while the military council has been administratively incapacitated.

The nation’s debt has climbed from $2.3 billion 2006 to $4 billion in 2012. Investments are all time low at 2% of GDP and inflation running in double digits. Some 9,000 graduates are jobless and 11,000 pensioners stripped off the benefits by 50%.  Poverty has climbed to unprecedented level while the regime refuses to accept Wages Council’s Chair Father Kevin Barr’s forth recommendation to lift wages. Hospitals around Fiji don’t have morphine and other basic medicine but the health minister lectures people on their responsibility.

Law and order has shaken the fabric of the nation whilst hangers-on are having cocktail on beer budgets. 15,000 jobs will be lost soon and the regime is now befriending the rogue nation of Iran which  wants Israel eliminated.  Police officers enjoy the proceeds of crimes and prefer to sort their differences out in the night club intoxicated from the stolen cash. The nation has really been brought to its knees and it’s time for action.

It is time now for the Military Council to assert its rightful place and wrestle the control away from Khaiyum and his small group of self-serving individuals to avert the looming crisis of unparalleled magnitude which will lead Fiji into abyss of poverty never seen in her history.  We have seen enough and the curtain must fall on the satanic verses chanted by Khaiyum against the people of Fiji.

The Military Council must act now.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL: The New Zealand Government’s new stance towards the Fiji regime – CFDFiji.org

The motto of the three famous monkeys has now come very much to be exemplified by the Government of New Zealand in its dealings towards the current military dictatorship in Fiji. The latest rapprochement and cosiness of the Government towards the regime is in stark contrast to its former principled stance:

  • Government was concerned that the regime is a military dictatorship.
  • Government was concerned about the many human rights abuses committed by the regime, notably against the hundreds of people taken to the Army barracks and systematically raped, beaten and abused and even killed.
  • Government was concerned about the repressive decrees produced at whim by the evil genius of the regime, the purported Attorney General, the practice of which was in 2009 condemned by the Fiji Court of Appeal.
  • Government was concerned about the absence of basic human rights, suppression of essential freedoms, tapping of communications and other evils committed by the regime.

In the twinkling of an eye all that is changed.

The engaging by the regime in the current charade of Constitutional Consultation, and its giving of blandishments to the apparently gullible New Zealand Government, has changed everything.  Suddenly, lifting of sanctions and diplomatic engagement is full on. New Zealand taxpayers’ money is being channelled to the regime, on top of the many millions of dollars wasted in previous Fiji elections. And all this on account of the ‘word’ of the regime itself.

The untrustworthiness of the regime has been proved on many occasions in the past. What makes the regime trustworthy now? What justification is there for the expenditure of taxpayer funds in return for promises from the like of the alleged Attorney General?

Actually, nothing has changed. Fiji is still fully militarised, under the very militarisation not long ago condemned by the Australian Foreign Minister. The Army has not withdrawn to barracks. There is no independent body running the country in the run up to promised elections.

Pernicious decrees remain in force. De facto, apart from the technical position, the Army retains complete control.

Any alleged temporary relaxation to accommodate the current Constitutional process is a chimera.

As has been stressed many times before, there is no real prospect of a genuine democratic election because the alleged Prime Minister and Attorney General simply cannot afford ever to truly relinquish power. Genuine relinquishment would entail their prosecution for the host of grave offences of which they are guilty. Hence the feverish desperation of the alleged Attorney General to force into a new Constitution clauses absolving him and his cronies from guilt.

Even if the saving clauses are forced through any future truly democratic Government would be unlikely to respect them.

It is necessary, in considering the current charade, to look at the unduly respectful language currently being used by the international community and others in regard to the regime. Thus, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand refers to the alleged Fiji Foreign Minister as his counterpart. But he is not. He is the illegal creation of a military dictatorship. Nor can he properly be called Foreign Minister.

The Fiji police refer to controlling the process surrounding the conviction of the former Prime Minister as necessary to protect the independence of the judiciary. But such independence does not exist in Fiji.

The Australian media refer to the body convicting the former Prime Minister as a court. The word ‘court’ implies legality and Constitutionality. But those attributes do not pertain to that body. The media also assert that it cannot comment on the verdict because it is ‘sub judice’. However that assertion is also false. Nothing produces nothing. The right of appeal only attaches to a genuine verdict.

The Foreign Minister of New Zealand produces as a pretext for lifting sanctions that this will enable Fiji to recruit competent persons in high positions to enhance an alleged movement towards free and fair elections. The point however that he misses is that it is not a good career move for a person from outside Fiji to take up high position in a military dictatorship. Nor does such a move enhance that person’s reputation.The Foreign Minister in this connection should, with respect, for an example, seek the views of past Judges and Directors of Public Prosecutions axed by the regime, and of the Law Societies of Australia and New Zealand.

The fact that the current charade in Fiji is indeed a charade is already apparent but this will become even clearer in time. There may indeed be elections but in their nature they cannot be free and fair .

At this time, the Council calls upon all fair and right minded people everywhere to reject that charade.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
8th August 2012
CFDFiji.org

Media Release – Letter to His Hon. Bob Carr with submissions in relation to his upcoming visit to Fiji – CFDFiji.org

Hon Bob Carr
Foreign Minister
Government of Australia
Canberra ACT
AUSTRALIA

By email

27th April 2012

Dear Minister

RE: YOUR PENDING VISIT TO FIJI

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council for a Democratic Fiji, to seek to emphasise certain vital issues which the Council would respectfully request you to consider during your meetings with representatives of the Fiji regime.

You will no doubt recall the submission recently made by the Council to the Ministerial Action Group of the Commonwealth, and you may also recall the previous submission by the Council to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at the end of last year. I take the liberty of attaching, for ease of reference, the submission to the Group. That submission sets out the credentials of the Council and evidences its legitimate concerns regarding current events in Fiji, and also shows its representative nature as representing a broad range of interests in Fiji including those of the majority political parties engaged in the last democratically held General Election in Fiji, the Fiji Democracy Movements worldwide including those in Australia and New Zealand, and the Fiji unions and Churches. The submission also annexes the Council’s previous submission to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

For present purposes, I seek to focus upon the issue of the process of consultation regarding Constitutional change offered by the current regime, which process I understand to be scheduled to commence next month. No doubt, the regime would seek your support for that process and acceptance of its legitimacy.

However, as the Council made clear in its submissions, especially that to the Ministerial Action Group, the climate in Fiji, created and deliberately persisted in by the current regime, is wholly unconducive to and indeed inimicable towards the holding of free and democratic consultations.

It is clearly understood from study of the published decision of the Ministerial Action Group that the Group is of like view.

Assurances, promises and blandishments by the regime as to how the consultation will be conducted are in the Council’s view wholly inadequate to allay legitimate concerns regarding the issue of consultations being free and democratic, especially having regard to the past conduct of the regime and the maintenance by the Army of a firm grip upon the people of Fiji.

It is understood that it is the above consideration which has led Australia and New Zealand both to decline to mitigate current sanctions imposed upon Fiji solely by reference to assurances, promises and blandishments by the regime.

For the above reason, the Council respectfully repeats and re emphasises its viewpoint expressed to the Ministerial Action Group that consultation should only occur upon satisfaction by the regime of the following conditions precedent, whose fulfillment would be absolutely necessary to ensure that the climate of discussion would be free, fair and frank:

  1. (I)  Rescission of the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012 and its non replacement;
  2. (II)  Rescission of Decrees immunising public officials from public discussion;
  3. (III)  Removal of the Army and security forces from public places;
  4. (IV)  Rescission of all Decrees hamstringing or prejudicing the basic freedoms of expression, communication and assembly;
  5. (V)  Rescission of all restrictions upon leaders of parties which participated in the last democratic election which violate their freedom of expression, communication and assembly and also their rights of movement.

Above are the views already expressed to the Ministerial Action Group.

Further, in regard to item (v), the Council would wish that the leaders of parties which participated in the last democratic election be at liberty without let or hindrance to participate fully in the consultation process.

The Council would further wish that no restrictions be placed by the regime upon the publicising of submissions made during the process of consultation, and that no outcomes be visited upon the makers of same.

The Council respectfully requests that above considerations be paid regard to during your meetings with representatives of the regime.

Sincerely

 

Roko Uluilakeba Mara
For Council for a Democratic Fiji

For this document and further documents, please see the following link for hard copies of same.

 

Media Release – Statement on the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Suva, March 2012 – CFDFiji.org

Statement by Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, representing the Council for a Democratic Fiji on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting in Suva, March 2012

Nukua’lofa, Tonga: Thursday 29th March 2012

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is bringing shame and dishonour to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) by continuing to act as its chairman. He should be disqualified from the chair’s role because he is in breach of all the MSG’s founding principles. The leaders of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are obliged to explain to the South Pacific and the world why they tolerate a brutal military dictator as their MSG leader. Can they not see that they have allowed themselves to be compromised by endorsing Commodore Bainimarama as the MSG chair?

The MSG and Melanesian solidarity are devalued if they become a vehicle for serving the interests of one desperate individual heading a regime that has been declared illegal.

The CFDFiji calls on the MSG leaders to actively encourage Commodore Bainimarama to immediately abandon his present mission of dictatorship which is having such a disastrous effect on Fiji. The CFDFiji invites the MSG to employ Melanesian methods of consensus and peace building in an effort to restore legitimate government to Fiji. If it does not do this it is betraying the people of an MSG member state.

Commodore Bainimarama has no legal legitimacy because he came to office through a military coup in 2006. He clings to power to escape the serious legal consequences of his actions including crimes of violence and abuse of human rights. All his talk about reforms and modernization and Melanesian solidarity is just a sham, a scam and a cover up. His so-called plan for elections in 2014 is already showing signs of becoming yet another act of deception.

The agreement establishing the MSG requires its member states to respect human rights and democracy based on the rule of law. It emphasises that democratic principles are universally recognized underpinning the organization of a state to ensure the legitimacy of its authority and the legality of its actions.

Commodore Bainimarama continues to rule Fiji in violation of democracy and instead has suppressed our people with threats and acts of force and through the imposition of oppressive decrees. He has destroyed the independence of the judiciary.

Already Commodore Bainimarama’s destructive influence is at work through his promotion of the idea that the MSG states are more important than smaller regional countries because they have bigger populations. This is against all the rules of equality that govern international and South Pacific affairs. It is an example of Commodore Bainimarama employing wedge politics to further his own ends.

He has made a mockery of the Melanesian culture, tradition and values that he is supposed to uphold. These values include the rights of indigenous peoples and communities. Commodore Bainimarama does not uphold these rights if they are in conflict with his own priorities.

When he was in Vanuatu recently he accepted a chiefly title conferred by an indigenous community. On his return to Fiji he abolished the Great Council of Chiefs that has played a key role in the country as a symbol of indigenous identity, traditions and customary law. He acted against the GCC because it had refused to recognise his regime. This is typical of the hypocrisy that marks so many of Commodore Bainimarama’s actions.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
For the Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

Please see the following link for a full copy of the Media Release.

A loose cannon threatening Fiji – Ratu Mara responds to Col. Tokoitoga’s comments – CFDFiji.org

A loose cannon threatening Fiji

Nukua’lofa, Tonga: Saturday 24th March 2012

Landforce Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, is the Fiji military’s latest weapon of intimidation aimed directly at the people of Fiji. His recent torrent of statements, obviously authorized by Fiji’s dictator, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, is poisoning the political atmosphere.

It is impossible for Fiji to embark on free and open consultations on constitutional change when the army is adopting a threatening public stance. Colonel Tikoitoga is reinforcing the warnings already given by the dictator through speeches, interviews and military parades and marches. The signal Tikoitoga is sending from headquarters is that the army is in charge, it is watching, and ready to act if the Commodore gives the order.

Colonel Tikoitoga has demonstrated once more that, like his leader, he has great difficulties with the truth and has a crude and clueless appreciation of politics.

This is very evident in his recent lectures to Fiji’s politicians about multi-racialism and claims they are clinging to the 1997 constitution because it permits them to appeal to their ethnic voters. He is also demonizing politics and threatening to wipe it from the face of Fiji society.

He is obviously staking out Bainimarama’s claim for the army to have a permanent and aggressive role in the political life of Fiji, against all the principles of liberal democracy.

He is telling a massive lie when he claims that the 1997 constitution was abrogated as soon as the Bainimarama coup was executed in 2006. This, he says, was part of the army’s “clean-up” of Fiji.

His statement underlines the dysfunctional and chaotic nature of the Bainimarama regime.

Colonel Tikoitoga plainly does not know that the number one priority of Bainimarama after 2006 was to uphold the 1997 constitution. He supposedly did that until 2009 when the Court of Appeal ruled his government was illegal. It was only then that Bainimarama purported to abrogate the constitution. By that time it had become part of his so-called Peoples Charter and it is still a bulwark of that misconceived and illegitimate document. So even though the constitution has been allegedly thrown out, it remains central to his policies. That is what is meant by dysfunctional government.

Tikoitoga appears to believe that if racial voting systems are removed from the 1997 constitution the people of Fiji will immediately stop voting on racial lines. This is stupid thinking. It will take a long time for the populace to fully embrace multi-racialism, especially after the damage to inter-racial relationships caused by the Bainimarama coup. Dictatorship, laws and decrees will not change attitudes that are deeply entrenched among Fijians and Indians.

Tikoitoga himself is a key figure in one of the most racist institutions in Fiji. Membership of the Fiji military forces is nearly 100 per cent Fijian. Tikoitoga, the new apostle of togetherness, should tell the nation what his plans are for recruiting Fiji Indian soldiers. In all my years in the Fiji Armed Forces I never heard concerns raised internally about its overwhelming dominance by indigenous Fijians. Bainimarama wanted it to remain that way. Indians were to be largely excluded, just as they have been shut out from Cabinet and other parts of government.

In his obsessive dislike of politics, Tikoitoga is ignoring the very concept of political rights. He does not understand that politics extends through all levels of society. It is part of life.

Tikoitoga continues to justify the 2006 coup, repeating all the false and phony justifications for it. In doing this recently, he made the outlandish claim that Bainimarama was motivated by his understanding of the principles of democracy!

In another outrageous statement recently, Tikoitoga maintained that the Fiji army’s role was no different from that of the New Zealand Army! He knows absolutely that this is a bold-faced lie. The New Zealand Army has never committed treason, established a dictatorship, and suppressed and brutalized New Zealanders.

The Landforce Commander is also telling lies when he says the Fiji military will not play a special part in the constitutional consultations. He is making it very clear in his public posturing that the army will act as an enforcer, to fulfill the will of its Commander. It is ready to support whatever action he takes, even if that is another coup.

The best option for Colonel Tikoitoga at this point is exile to Mali where he could offer to advise the coup leader there, Captain Sanogo, how to completely stuff up his country.

 

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
For the Council for a Democratic Fiji
cfdfiji.org
A full copy of the letter may be found here.

Open Letter to Professor Yash Ghai – CFDFiji.org

Dear Professor Ghai,

RE: YOUR CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE FIJI CONSTITUTION COMMISSION

I am writing to you to express, on behalf of the Council for a Democratic Fiji, my most respectful but grave concern regarding your acceptance of the above Chairmanship.

I must firstly explain the nature of the Council, on whose behalf I am writing to you.

The Council, as its name implies, is dedicated to the restoration of democracy in Fiji. It is a very widely based organisation having amongst its stakeholders the two major political parties who garnered the overwhelming majority of votes cast in the last democratic election held in Fiji, the Methodist Church of Fiji, the Fiji trade union movement, and the Fiji Democracy Movements worldwide.

I attach for your information marked “A”, a release issued following the first meeting of the Council in Auckland, which elaborates further upon the nature of the organisation.

The Council is concerned for the implementation of a return to democracy in accordance with the principles set out by the Fiji Court of Appeal in Qarase v Bainimarama 2009 FJCA 57, 20009 3 LRC 614. I am certain that a distinguished jurist of your stature would be familiar with those principles.

The Council, as I have said, is respectfully but gravely concerned at your acceptance of the Chairmanship of the Constitutional Commission.

There are two reasons for this stance – firstly, that the very purpose of the creation of the Commission – the creation of a fresh Constitution and supplanting of the current Constitution by the creators – appears to be incompatible with the principles set out in Qarase’s case and also with the principles set out in another seminal Fiji decision with which I am sure you are equally familiar, that of the Fiji Court of Appeal in Republic of Fiji v Prasad 20001 FJCA 2, Abu 0078 200S. The said purpose is both illegal and unconstitutional in light of the above decisions, and, that purpose being illegal all steps for the effectuation of that purpose are equally illegal and unconstitutional.

The second reason for this stance is simply that the very process proposed for the doing of the Commission’s work appears having regard to the history of the current regime and the militarisation by it of Fiji life, to inevitably be destined to be other than democratic, in other words, having regard to the history of the regime and its proclivities and the militarisation created by it, due and proper consultations by stakeholders would in any event be impossible, even if the exercise in question is treated as valid. (Which it is not).

Full copy of the letter continued here.

MEDIA RELEASE – The Great Council of Chiefs – CFDFiji.org

The Great Council of Chiefs
For a PDF copy of the media release please visit this link.

Nukua’lofa, Tonga: Wednesday 14th March 2012

The Council for a Democratic Fiji (CDFiji) denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by Fiji’s military dictatorship to virtually abolish the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC).

This is a direct assault on the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of Fiji. The GCC, and the traditional system of authority it represents, are an important part of the indigenous identity.

The sudden decision to get rid of the GCC is calculated to culturally disenfranchise the Fijians. It is further evidence of the appalling double standards of Fiji’s military regime. While it preaches to others about the needs for respect and fairness, it has failed to apply these principles to its treatment of Fiji’s indigenous community.

At a time when Fiji needs a calm environment for crucial constitutional discussions, the regime appears to have made a deliberate decision to raise tensions.

Although the announcement by the GCC was made by the head of the military government Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, he was clearly acting in accordance with the wishes of his Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s negative attitude to Fijian culture is expressed in an academic thesis he prepared when he was at university. This was supervised by Professor Yash Ghai, who was recently appointed by Commodore Bainimarama as chair of a new Constitutional Commission.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s position of power has enabled him over the last five years to implement as government policy the criticism of Fijian tradition contained in his thesis.

Commodore Bainimarama and Mr Khaiyum between them have contemptuously tossed aside the legacy of leadership and national achievement left by some of the great chiefly leaders.

Their actions are also a direct attack on the Constitution of Fiji which is still in existence. The Constitution provides a special role for the GCC. It is not for two coup-makers and illegal usurpers to try to take away the power given to the GCC in Fiji’s supreme law. By attempting to do this they are committing treason.

What they have done is also a slap in the face for the European Union. The EU had asked that the independence of the GCC should be substantially maintained as one of the conditions for the full resumption of aid. Commodore Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum have completely ignored this in their ill-timed and arrogant move to put the GCC onto the trash heap of history.

 

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
For the Council for a Democratic Fiji
cfdfiji.org

The Bainimarama Brief – Crimes, Deceit and the Ruination of Fiji – CFDFiji.org

Crimes, Deceit and the Ruination of Fiji

A paper for United States Congressman Eni F H Faleomavaega

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, a representative of the CFDFiji, was present at the meeting you had with Bainimarama and his Military Council on February 19th 2007. The Council thought the discussion was largely positive, in the tactical and strategic sense. The proof of this was that you were so impressed with what you heard that you became a key backer of Bainimarama.

The extensive briefing papers he sent to you after the February 19th discussion are a useful reference point for this submission. We have copies of those documents. The CFDFiji’s examination of the goals set out reveals starkly that Bainimarama and the man who manipulates him, his “Minister for everything” Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, have given Fiji a spectacular record of failure and deception in the last five years. They are the chief protagonists in the dictatorship and make the main decisions. Sayed-Khaiyum’s counsel normally prevails.

Their leadership is disastrous. It is directed at one objective – to save themselves from the consequences of their crimes. That was Bainimarama’s driving compulsion for executing the coup.

We now look at some of the prime aims of the Bainimarama government as laid out in the so- called “mandate” he sent you. The mandate has no legitimacy because it has no proven popular support.

It is essentially fiction.

Please see the remainder of the paper here.

CFDF – Letter to US Congressman Eni F H Faleomavaega – CFDFiji.org

United States Congressman Eni F H Faleomavaega
Member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
Ranking Member of the House Sub-committee on Foreign Affairs for Asia and the Pacific
P.O. Box Drawer
Pago Pago
American Samoa 96799

Dear Congressman Faleomavaega                                                                 6th March 2012

The Council for a Democratic Fiji – Achieving democracy in Fiji
Please accept my respectful greetings.

You will know that following my escape from the clutches of the Bainimarama regime in 2011, I have been actively campaigning against the dictator and calling for an early return to democracy in my homeland. I have publicly acknowledged that I was wrong in joining Bainimarama’s coup and have offered to make myself accountable to the people of Fiji for my part in it.

As time passed following December 2006, it became clear there was nothing laudable about the take-over by force of the elected government. From my vantage point, as one of Bainimarama’s associates and a member of his Military Council, I could see that all the enlightened aspirations Bainimarama put forward belatedly as a justification for his actions were simply a cover for his real intent of self-preservation and seizure of power at any cost.

When I look back it is astonishing to me that he was able to finally convince the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to become a party to his insurrection and imposition of military rule. We in the officer corps, despite our education and training, were swept along by the phony arguments advanced by our commander. We allowed ourselves to be fooled. Those brave enough to dissent did not stay on the payroll for long. The rest of us became part of what is a criminal enterprise. When the majority of us in the military leadership endorsed the Commodore’s plans, the other ranks fell into line.

Please see remainder of the letter here.

Bainimarama is the real fugitive from Justice – CFDFiji.org

MEDIA RELEASE
BAINIMARAMA THE REAL FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE

The leader of the current Fiji regime has frequently labeled Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara, formerly one of his right hand men, and who left Fiji last year upon being threatened by Bainimarama, as a fugitive from justice, on account of his not returning to Fiji to face Bainimarama’s version of justice.

There is of course no question of Ratu Mara being a fugitive from justice because under Bainimarama there is no justice, and indeed no Rule of Law, as noted in the New Zealand Herald of Monday March 5th 2012 at page A6.

In accusing Ratu Mara of being a fugitive from justice, Bainimarama is the pot calling the kettle black.

It is Bainimarama who is the most conspicuous refugee from justice in the South Pacific. His taking of that refuge caused him to stage the Fiji coup of 2006. His preservation of that refuge is what has led him to impose a military dictatorship on Fiji. It is what will cause him to ensure that his refuge is not disturbed by any occurrence such as a free and fair election. His maintenance of that refuge continues to blight every aspect of life in Fiji.

The fact that Bainimarama is a refugee from justice also involves that all his stated pretexts for the coup mounted by him, and the continuation of military dictatorship, are false. His initial statement that he staged the coup to counter corruption is false. His later statement that he staged the coup to change the Constitution is false. All his public statements as to his motivations in taking and holding power are false.

Bainimarama is simply a criminal on the run. The sooner his run is brought to a halt, the better.

It is necessary to review the extent of Bainimarama’s criminality in two stages:

Firstly, to show what charges Bainimarama faced immediately before his coup in 2006, which prompted him to mount the coup;

Secondly, to show what additional charges will have accrued against him since his staging the coup.

For more details, including the proposed charges by the Fiji Police investigation, please see the following weblink:
http://www.cfdfiji.org/Council_for_a_Democratic_Fiji/Media_files/120309%20RUM%20PR%20re%20Bainimarama%20charges.pdf

NZ and Australia must maintain sanctions against Fiji Military Regime – CFDFiji.org

Canberra: Saturday 10th March 2012

The Council for a Democratic Fiji (CFDFiji) urges the Australian and New Zealand governments to maintain their sanctions against the regime of the Fijian dictator Commodore Fank Bainimarama. These should only be lifted when free and fair elections are conducted under Fiji’s current constitution. The credibility of the poll must be confirmed by the international community including the Commonwealth, UN, the European Union and the Pacific Islands Forum.

It would be a grave mistake for sanctions to be withdrawn when Fiji is still under the heel of a dictatorship that is suppressing the rights of the populace. Such a policy switch would serve to strengthen Commodore Bainimarama’s hold on Fiji. It would be used as propaganda to serve his mission of holding on to power at any cost.

The constitutional consultation programme announced by Commodore Bainimarama yesterday is clearly to be an exercise in pro-regime propaganda, manipulation and control. The process is biased in his favour. All this was to be expected. One piece of prime evidence is that two of the appointees to an important constitutional commission are Bainimarama supporters. The other is the academic supervisor for a controversial thesis on Fijian culture and tradition by Commodore Bainimarama’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

No details have been given of the method of appointment of a constituent assembly in January next year. Given the way he normally operates, Commodore Bainimarama will keep a tight grip on membership.

He is so confident of the outcome of the constitutional consultations that he has already predicted in a Sky news propaganda interview that he would win the next election – if it takes place. That sort of prediction from a dictator sends a message that he will ensure the electoral system he finally approves will work for him and his supporters.

There was no attempt by Commodore Bainimarama to engage in good-faith dialogue with political parties and other stakeholders to reach consensus on the framework for the consultations. A bi- partisan approach would have created public confidence. Instead, Commodore Bainimarama simply imposed his wishes on the country.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully was right in saying that the announcement itself did not provide justification for removing sanctions. Bainimarama supporters have claimed that the new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr was about to offer the dictator an “olive branch” . Mr Carr has wisely stated that he is not about to announce any policy change. He will clearly wish to take wide soundings of political and community opinion to guide his thinking.

The most prudent diplomatic stance to take with Commodore Bainimarama is one of caution in light of his record as a breaker of promises. For instance, he misled the Pacific Islands Forum when he made a commitment to holding elections in 2009.

The Fiji Labour Party and the Fiji Islands Trades Union Congress have already raised many questions publicly about Bainimarama’s constitutional plans. Other organisations and individuals share their doubts but are reluctant yet to speak out.

Non Government Organisations, including the Citizens Constitutional Forum, have called for the rescinding of new laws that prevent open and free debate and give licence to Commodore Bainimarama and his Ministers to make defamatory statements. The same protection is not offered to those who might speak against them.

Commodore Bainimarama has chosen for his own reasons to ignore the 1997 constitution, which many legal experts consider is still in existence, but dormant. This is the position of the CFDFiji. The 1997 constitution was the supreme law of Fiji which Commodore Bainimarama claims he abrogated in 2009. This was after the Fiji Court of Appeal had declared his administration illegal. It is still illegal and that obviously has consequences for the constitutional scheme he has announced.

The 1997 constitution was widely hailed internationally. It was the product of exhaustive consultations and had the endorsement of all the Parliamentary parties representing the people of Fiji. It should, therefore, form the foundation for the discussions that are to take place. Many parts of it can be retained, while others can be changed only by an elected parliament.

Another disturbing development was the apparent rejection by Attorney General Saiyed-Khaiyum of an offer by the Australian and New Zealand governments to provide funding for electronic voter registration. This was on the basis that they have scrutiny access to voter registration. The proposal was made in good faith to ensure the process is transparent and equitable. The attitude of Sayed-Khaiyum clearly signals the possibility of planned manipulation of the process hidden from international observers and donors.

 

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
10th March 2012
cfdfiji.org

Ratu Tevita Mara’s Response to Announcement by the Regime on Constitutional Process – CFDFiji.org

Canberra: 9th March 2012

As expected, the constitution process announced today by Banimarama has all the hallmarks of control and bias associated with his regime. It will not pass any international test of credibility and independence.

“He is clearly embarking on a so-called consultation that will be stacked in his favour and propelled by a massive regime propaganda exercise which must be rejected ” says Ratu Mara

Two of the three people appointed initially to his Constitutional Commission to engage in a “civic education process”, should resign immediately. Professor Nandan is a prominent Bainimarama disciple who has publicly and lavishly praised his 2006 coup. Taufa Vakatale is widely-regarded as a Bainimarama supporter who has willingly accepted appointments by the regime. Their sympathies will obviously come into play during the consultations.

The Chairperson, Professor Yash Ghai, is certainly experienced in constitution-making and is familiar with Fiji. However, his role as academic supervisor to Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum, Bainimarama’s chief collaborator, when Sayed-Khaiyum prepared a controversial thesis on indigenous Fijian culture, raises questions about his appointment. The same applies to his earlier role as a constitutional consultant to certain Fiji political parties.

The evidence for the planned national brain-washing is contained in Bainimarama’s reference to government collating and printing material for “civic education”.

He is intent on forcing the People’s Charter for Change down people’s throats. This has been adopted by the government as its own manifesto. But it does not have a valid mandate from the people. If the Bainimarama manifesto is to be the ideological reference point for the constitution then the manifestos of political parties with proven support should also be put to the people.

The details about the planned constituent assembly are very vague and obviously have not yet been fully thought out. But one thing can be certain, it will be Bainimarama’s creature – expected, ultimately, to do his bidding.

He should tell the people whether the army will be sitting in the constituent assembly.

Which political parties will qualify? Who will decide on the assembly’s membership?

There are real grounds for scepticism about the level of freedom Fiji citizens can exercise to make their views known. It appears that only those who Bainimarama thinks are “forward-looking” will make the grade. This is coded language indicating intolerance of dissenting views. Similarly his comments urging people not to be distracted by “petty politics and politicians” is another warning sign.

Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum are fixated on a new constitution when there are very strong legal grounds for believing that the 1997 constitution, which they purported to abrogate, is still in existence.
The Council for a Democratic Fiji which I speak for, takes the position that the constitutional deliberations should use the 1997 constitution as their framework. This would be more acceptable to the people of Fiji and the international community. Bainimarama should have no problem with the 1997 constitution because he championed it after the 2006 takeover of the elected government.

It is not surprising that Bainimarama has apparently turned his back on a referendum as a vehicle for establishing support for proposed constitutional changes. A free and fair referendum would be far too democratic for Bainimara’s liking.

Bainimarama has already poisoned the atmosphere by his recent threatening and belligerent comments about the constitutional review and his public displays of military might. He gave a radio interview about the proposed review which exposed his true feelings. In that interview he urged the former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and “everybody else” to “shut up and listen to us”. This was the authentic voice of a tyrant who hates and fears dissent.

 

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
10th March 2012
cfdfiji.org

Meeting was told to destroy the FLP and SDL……..“I know this for a fact since I was present at that meeting,” Ratu Tevita.

Sri Lankan Lawyer’s Claim True and Correct

BY RATU TEVITA MARA, 19 August 2011

The claim by Sri Lankan lawyer, Madhawa Tenakoon, that the illegal, corrupt and ruthless military regime in Fiji interfered in Fiji’s judicial system and pursued a selective, “witch hunt” policy in the investigation and prosecution of persons by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), is absolutely true and correct, former Military Officer, Ratu Tevita Mara, said today.

Mr Tenakoon was a lawyer on contract with the FICAC before he resigned, unable to stomach the abuse of power, abuse of justice and flagrant abuse of the rule of law in Fiji by the ruling military junta.

Ratu Tevita said that, shortly after the Military Coup of December 2006, the Military Commander Frank Bainimarama devised a policy to destroy the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) and the Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and totally remove both from the political landscape of Fiji. It was first necessary, however, to destroy the Leaders of both Parties, Mahandra Chaudhry of the FLP and Laisenia Qarase of the SDL, in any and all ways possible through subverting investigative and legal systems in Fiji.

Ratu Tevita revealed that Commander Bainimarama created a special Military Council after the coup and at a meeting of the Council in early 2007, he raised the issue of the FLP, SDL and their Leaders Chaudhry and Qarase, and emphasized that the Parties and the Leaders were political enemies of the State and ordered that charges be made up and brought against the two men to ensure that they were kept out of the political future of Fiji.

“I know this for a fact since I was present at that meeting,” Ratu Tevita added.
The former Military Officer, now campaigning regionally and internationally against the illegal military Junta and for the return of freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Fiji, pointed out that at a Meeting of the Commission for Change in Fiji, some years ago, dictator Bainimarama, told members that he was opposed to any representatives from the FLP and the SDL being represented on the Commission and especially Chaudhry and Qarase. “I wish to repeat: what Sri Lankan lawyer Tenakoon said about interference in the judicial system and in the FICAC is absolutely true and correct,” he asserted.

“The oppressive, repressive and suppressive regime of Bainimarama and his co-conspirator, Aiyaz Khaiyum, is destroying the foundations of civilised society in Fiji, to wit, the rights and freedoms of every citizen, the freedom of speech and the media and the rule of law. It must end. The Voice of the Oppressed People of Fiji Restoring Democracy, Rule of Law & Human Rights in Fiji

I call on countries in the South Pacific region, especially Australia and New Zealand, and the International Community to do more to end the nightmare in Fiji. I urge the people of Fiji to pursue peaceful protests and peaceful resistance against the tyranny, injustice, corruption and dictatorship in the country. The late, great Leader Mahatma Gandhi carried out a plan of “passive resistance” by the people in India many years ago which led to their freedom and independence. The people of Fiji must stand up against the evil being perpetrated by the vicious and brutal illegal military junta. Enough is enough,” Ratu Tevita declared.

Ratu Tevita Maru approachs Maori as traditional leader?

Fijians want Maori support for democracy

Wednesday 27th July, 2011

http://www.waatea603am.co.nz/News/2011/July/Fijians-want-Maori-support-for-demo/default.aspx

Democracy activist Frank Robanakadavu says the Fiji for Democracy Movement will ask iwi for support against his country’s military rulers.

Frank Robanakadavu accompanied exiled officer and traditional leader Ratu Tevita Maru to meet King Tuheitia last week.

He says support from fellow indigenous peoples like Maori is important to the cause, which is why a direct approach to iwi is being considered.

He was pleased to see many Maori among the 500 people at a Fiji for Democracy rally in Pukekohe at the weekend.