Tags and name calling..

By KAMAL IYER … F/Times, Saturday, September 06, 2008

“LEADERSHIP is about averting disaster, not creating the conditions in which it thrives. Creating an environment conducive to unity can be a slow process. There is no overnight solution. With genuine goodwill, united as a mighty collective force and a willingness to sacrifice personal gains in the national interest, we can succeed”. – Jai Ram Reddy – May 3, 1996.

The words of wisdom of the former NFP and Opposition leader Jai Ram Reddy are significant in the current environment where the interim regime is forcing its vision of a united Fiji down the throats of our citizens by telling us to digest the draft People’s Charter.

The regime is behaving in a manner similar to the popular Hindi proverbial saying, Chat mangni, pat viyah, meaning engagement and marriage at once. At the same time, the regime’s former Robin Hood, Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry is moving around the country like folklore story character Pinocchio – who in one of the many versions of the story was a military puppet whose nose grew in length each time he told a lie.

The two scenarios are like the two sides of a coin currently being tossed with rapidity before Fiji’s citizens. But this time both the head and tail sides of the coin have catastrophic consequences for the social, political and economic recovery of Fiji from the edge of a never ending fall into the depths of chaos and disaster.

Having mixed the ingredients of the many unconstitutional provisions contained in the draft Charter, especially the proposals on the contentious electoral provisions and land lease legislation, Mr Chaudhry and his stage hands are now desperately trying every trick in the book to wash their hands off the draft Charter which threatens to derail the Constitution, politically dis-enfranchise the Indian and minority communities and relegate them to opposition in perpetuity in any Parliament elected under the draft Charter’s electoral provisions.

He has already started staging a familiar drama amongst the Indian electorate that only enhanced his personal ambitions in the past but permanently damaged race relations and harmony. Fijian leader Laisenia Qarase countered by playing similar tunes amongst the Fijian community, only to change to a more harmonious tune from May 2006 which was cut short by the fourth military coup.

On Monday, August 31, 2008, the fijilive website carried a news report quoting Mr Chaudhry saying that part of the reason he quit the interim regime was to dissociate the Labour Party from the People’s Charter process.

Fijilive reported Mr Chaudhry as telling his supporters at the Ba Hotel last weekend that he didn’t want the people to think the Charter was a document orchestrated by the FLP. He also said the FLP was independent of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and wanted to show it (FLP) had no hand in the formulation of the Charter. Similarly, the FLP treasurer Rajeshwar Kumar was on Legend FM and Radio Sargam news and Fiji One TV news on Wednesday and Thursday respectively to claim he opposed the electoral reforms in the draft Charter which recommends the abolishment of all Communal Seats and introduce Common Roll voting.

But the interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the draft Charter was unanimously approved by the NCBBF, which means Mahendra Chaudhry, Tom Ricketts, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi, Jokapeci Koroi, Kamlesh Arya, Rajeshwar Kumar, Daniel Urai and all other FLP supporters and well wishers on the NCBBF gave their blessings to the draft Charter. Rajeshwar Kumar continued to be a member of the NCBBF in defiance of the Fiji Local Government Association when he was outvoted as FLGA president early this year by Suva Lord Mayor Ratu Peni Volavola. At that time Mr Kumar, despite being nominated to the NCBBF last year in his capacity as FLGA president proclaimed he would not quit the NCBBF come what may.

Therefore why suddenly have butterflies in your stomach Mr Kumar when you stuck to your NCBBF chair like glue?

On August 29, 2007, MP Chaudhry told the regime’s Department of Information the proposed Charter was the way to having a united and better Fiji. “And people who oppose this are not talking in the best interest of the nation but to serve their own hidden agenda,” Mr Chaudhry said in the statement posted on http://www.fiji.gov.fj. The FLP Annual Delegates Conference of July 19, 2008 resolved to support the People’s Charter and its electoral reforms. The Annual Activities Report of FLP tabled that same day and signed by Mr Chaudhry states, “Let us Put Fiji First – the rest will fall in place.”

On May 31, 2008, Mr Chaudhry addressed a National Farmers Union meeting at Labasa Civic Centre.

He told farmers in Hindi the FLP was supporting the draft Charter and electoral reforms because the electoral provisions in the 1997 Constitution are undemocratic. “Election will take place in its own time when a new voting system that is democratic is in place,” Mr Chaudhry told the farmers.

What Mr Chaudhry is now telling the people throughout the country pale into insignificance even when compared to Pinocchio.

Mahendra Chaudhry is very familiar with the tag given to those who commit cardinal sins on the Indian community and the nation because he along with other Indian leaders have in the past used it to label those who participated in illegal and illegitimate activities designed to trample upon the political rights of the Indian community and the nation as a whole.

After the 1987 coups that ousted the NFP/FLP Coalition government, Irene Jai Narayan, (who had joined the Alliance Party before the 1987 elections) was appointed as the interim Minister for Indian Affairs.

Six Indians namely Tamessar Bhim, RH Bechan, Ganga P Shankar, Sharda Nand, Uday Singh and FKhan were part of the Paul Manueli chaired Constitution Review Commission that formulated the racist and unjust 1990 Constitution.

All of them were labelled traitors to the Indian community, in public meetings and through the media by the leaders of the NFP/Labour Coalition parties like Jai Ram Reddy, Dr Balwant Singh Rakka, Adi Kuini Vuikaba, Krishna Datt, Tupeni Baba and MP Chaudhry.

After the May 2000 coup that deposed Mr Chaudhry’s FLP led government, George Shiu Raj joined Laisenia Qarase’s interim regime.

Four Indians namely Ben Bhagwan (later resigned), Fred Achari, Joe Singh and Joseph KL Maharaj accepted membership to serve on the Asesela Ravuvu chaired Constitution Review Commission to form a new Constitution to replace the 1997 Constitution which was abrogated by Commodore Frank Bainimarama. This Commission was later aborted. At that time the then general secretary of NFP Attar Singh in public meetings and through the media called them traitors to the Indian community.

Mahendra Chaudhry and all those members of the Fiji Labour Party who supported the overthrow of the SDL/FLP Multi-Party government through the barrel of a gun, who gladly accepted appointments as interim ministers in the regime, and who participated in the NCBBF and played prominent roles in formulating the draft Charter that threatens to politically annihilate Indian and Minority communities, have invited the tag of traitors to the Indian community, themselves.

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2 Responses to “Tags and name calling..”

  1. Adi Kaila Says:

    I suppose he’s going to say that jo cabbage is a figment of his imagination and that she did not state for all of Fiji to hear and see on Fiji TV Ones National News aired on 11.1.06 that their FLP would support the moronic military if they staged a coup.

  2. painter Says:

    In light of this excellent post by Mr. Iyer, I was surprised to read former PM and coup leader Rabuka’s regular opinion column online (Sun’s F/Times).

    Rabuka said: “We can all contribute to the prevention of future multiple deaths accidents in buses by being vigilant briefing children and grandchildren, asking the bus operators to have safety briefings before the bus leaves the bus stand, asking the regulators to demand that buses have working fire fighting equipment on buses, insisting on safety considerations in the design of new buses, have safety instructions visibly displayed in the buses, to mention just a few… It was not an accident. It could have been avoided. Proper maintenance, driver fatigue prevention, more strict monitoring of vehicle fitness and road worthiness, more speed monitoring etc. could have prevented that one and will prevent any in the future. If we do not see an improvement, then the 11 would have died in vain”.

    How strange, it would have been far more appropriate if Rabuka added that the adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’ applies equally in the larger context, in fact, even more so, as pointed out by the the former Leader of Opposition and Statesman JR Reddy over a decade ago – that “LEADERSHIP is about averting disaster, not creating the conditions in which it thrives. What Fiji is currently experiencing at the hands of the military junta is anything BUT!

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