They’ve laboured mightily Fiji’s coup apologists and produced 23,222 words for us all to read.The new Draft People’s Charter for change, peace and progress which takes up 6,555 words in the document.
The US Constitution is just 8,100 words, Abe Lincoln managed to sum up things at Gettysburg with 277 words and the Ten Commandments ran to 148 with Jesus Christ himself editing them down to just 24.
All that was before paid consultants and the pile-on brigade who turn misfortune into invoices and people like John Samy.
Much of the charter document is not what it says it is; it is not a charter, but a manifesto for radical, undemocratic change.
Some of it is very silly; like changing everybody’s identity definitions again. They did that in 1997 and it did not work out that time. News flash; folks are folks. That is all there is to that.
The key idea in the charter is the electoral material; the rest is just a wish list with no practical support.
The electoral changes (including the boundary lines) reflect the central belief of military dictator Voreqe Bainimarama and his sidekick Mahendra Chaudhry. They robbed in the 2001 and 2006 elections, so they say. That Chaudhry had resoundingly won under the same system in 1999 is studiously ignored.
Now, having covered quite a few of Fiji’s elections, under both systems, I personally think the current systems are hopelessly complex. It is so muddled the people’s voice is lost.
The problem with it was that Sitiveni Rabuka and the Reeves Commission foisted it on the population. It was curious that they bestowed on the nation such a complicated voting system, but did not have enough faith in their intelligence to decide their own voting system.
Bainimarama and the charter hacks are doing the same thing; they are imposing, with the aid of military force, a new voting system. If it is so good, then why not put it to a popular referendum – supervised by the United Nations perhaps?
There is a simple reason why they do not do this; read the draft charter carefully and you will see its authors are dismissive the most of the people of Fiji. They do not come out and say this in as many words, but they let their contempt show by saying that one day Fiji’s people might join the “mainstream”.
No voting system imposed on people, much less imposed by military force, will work.
Unquestionably, Fiji’s boundary system is in need of reform. It is a long stretch, however, to say that the current system is a gerrymander; it is not. It is the result of institutional failure, not least the inability to do a decent census. Fixing it can be done in a straightforward, apolitical fashion. You decide the number of seats a parliament wants and distribute the population in proportionate numbers to the electorate. Its not hard and apolitical civil servants, using a transparent system, can do it ahead of every election.
But here is the rub to the whole charter, the thing they do not get; No matter how much they massage the boundaries and no matter which voting system they come up with, an election will result in a government dominated by the nation’s majority people – the indigenous Fijians.
It is not a conspiracy – it is a statistical fact.
It happens when Fijians make up 60 percent of the population and Indians 30 percent.
Unlike the vast majority of the population, I have now read the entire Draft Charter. What follows is my assessment of it, page by page.
To read Michael Field’s review, click on hot link http://www.michaelfield.org/draft%20charter%20review%202.htm