Jioji Kotobalavu has put his finger on the most important problem with so-called electoral reform. Fijian communal representation is only partly an issue of the Fijians versus other communities. It’s also about the way Fijians themselves want to be represented by Fijians.
Lomaiviti, Kadavu, Lau and Rotuma would become three electorates if numbers are the only thing taken into account, even though there are there are four distinct communities to be represented. The long established formula ofViti kei Rotuma recognizes the separate identity of Rotuma, which is always understood and respected by Fijians and Rotumans alike.
Equality can mean many things. FrArms preaches to us that we must accept his version of equality in voting, as this is the purest form of equality, according to what he believes is his expertise. It’s funny, however, that he talks with such an air of authority about elections, but he has never been elected to any position that allows him to do this. Is the electoral method he wants to prescribe used by his church? Is this how the Pope was elected? Is this how Bishop Mataca was appointed?
It will be sad day for Fiji when our Fijian traditional groups count for nothing. When long established relationships between groups are dismissed as irrelevant and each person is just a number to be shuffled around in order to give electorates the exact numerical ‘equality’ which Fr Arms and others tell us is the only way to hold an election.
The electoral system in 1997 constitution, which the national Committee for Bullshit and Bluster in Fiji dismissed as undemocratic, was approved by a two thirds majority of a Parliament of elected representatives. The NCBBF was elected by no-one.