A perspective… “Cracking the Coup Code”

What are your thoughts dear bloggers, on the following, an interesting perspective by a very senior, not to mention highly decorated ex-military officer – Jone Baledrokadroka, a man who was kicked out unceremoniously, by the Pig and subsequently charged in a much publicised, controversial case of alleged conspiracy charges to assassinate the Pig, Saumatua, that Anglican Archbishop’s son whose name escapes me right now, Chodo Snr and Princess Fiona (iAG).

“Is there a design for the political future of our nation hidden in the coup culture? Can the 2006 coup finally rid us of the anachronism of 19 century race-based politics and paradoxically launch us into a golden age of 21st century liberal democracy?

Controversial as it may seem given international condemnation and the downturn in economic growth, I draw on M.Janowitz (1971:306) who wrote: “The intervention of the military in domestic politics is the norm; persistent patterns of civil supremacy are the deviant cases that require special exploration”.

As such in trying to make sense of the coup culture besetting our nation and address the issue from a longer term perspective, I will digress. In Thailand, coups, not elections, have become the norm for change of political leadership and government (Bunbongkarn 1987 a: 42-52). Since 1932, political change has evolved in a cyclical pattern starting with a coup, followed by an election and a short period of open politics, before a crisis leading to another coup. In most cases, the coups provide a channel for the Royal Thai Army to exert influence on the political situation, and have little to do with political transformation. For Fiji this trend was alluded to by Stephanie Lawson in her, ‘The Military Versus Democracy in Fiji: Problems for Contemporary Political Development’ study of the 1987 and 2000 coups, quote, “For whatever happens in the arena of civil politics, the military has established itself in a guardian role. In the terms expressed by Luckham (1971:27), the military now has a strong ideological disposition towards regarding itself as the ‘Platonic guardian’ of the national interest. And the praetorian character of this development does indeed suggest that the military in Fiji has become a homus politicus in its own right.”

Hence as in the case of the RFMF’s 2006 coup, with the proposed charter and the realigning of its ‘guardianship’ role to include ‘Human Security’, it seems the RFMF has permanent intentions of ‘mission creeping’ into the political affairs of the State. Therefore, if one is to look at Fiji’s political development since, through Morris Janowitz’s said observation, then the military’s political intervention in 1987, 2000 and 2006 may be argued as the norm. If somewhat an irony in our developing political design for liberal democracy and good governance. What triggered the military’s cyclic involvement in local politics, was it for purely personal ambition, as some would claim – messianic or otherwise? In the aftermath of the coups of 1987 and 2000, the triumph of ethno-national politics as the IG would label the SVT and later SDL parties’ rule, has meant the victory of traditionally rural groups over more urbanised ones, which possess just those skills desirable in an advanced industrial economy. For this has meant the migration abroad of the mainly Indian population, victims of such racial politics. Hence it is argued that the competition for political homogeneity is indeed part of the developmental process for mature nationhood. Thus in the case of Fiji with its small immature political culture this process throws up inter – ethnic and intra – ethnic rivalries which inevitably involves the military.

As in post Second World War and post cold war Europe, ethnonationalism was the precursor for liberal democratic states as it meant the large-scale desegregation of ethnic populations. Further still it defined the modern nations as state entities around an ethnic majority with common borders. Therefore for Fiji, the intervening periods of civilian rule between 1987 to 2000 and 2000 to 2006, need to be analysed in light of the politics of race and the Fijians interpretation of history and conflict dominance. This in some way helps us to explain our cyclic coup culture. Hence as I’ve suggested in finding a way forward post 2006 coup, John Davis’s paper ‘Ethnic Competition and The Forging of the Nation State in Fiji’ (2005) requires deeper exploration. In his paper, Davis postulates that there is an ongoing racial ‘cold war’ for the soul of the nation brought about by an anachronistic race based politics. For argubly in the past it is during post coup civilian rule in Fiji that the political policies and performances issues that give cause to a coup are set in motion.

With the population racial balance now in favour of the indigenous Fijians (57%), what will be the legacy of the 2006 coup and its charter designs for the future? What is certain is that for the Fijians now well in the majority, military intervention has cautioned and moderated ethnonationalistic politics towards what the IG proclaims – a more liberal democracy. To take the argument to its logical conclusion military intervention has “guided” the nation from ethnonational implosion and heralded in an explosion of liberal democracy if somewhat by “guided” charter means, even though the jury is still out.

However, for true liberal democracy to take root and grow, (if this is the real intent and coup end state) what is important now is for the military to overcome the “legitimacy dilemma” it has fallen trap to, the bane of all coups and start to plot an exit strategy. For whether true liberal democracy will be institutionalised and civilian control of the military consolidated in the short run is another question.

 Jone Baledrokadroka,  7 Oct 2008, Fiji Times


24 Responses to “A perspective… “Cracking the Coup Code””

  1. Ablaze Says:

    I had a quick read and a bit disappointed Jone Baledrokadroka, after what has been said about him, he told us nothing that we already knew.

    He told us like it is. Give us more Jone Baledrokadroka, the reasons why Vore the Pig kicked you out????????????

    Why were you charged for conspiracy????????????

    It is people like Mr Baledrokadroka that should come out with everything they know to save the country.

    In time I hope they will come out of the wood works!

  2. Malekata Ravisa Says:

    Baleidrokadroka hits the crux of the issue when he states, ‘ with the proposed charter and the realigning of its ‘guardianship’ role to include ‘Human Security’, it seems the RFMF has permanent intentions of ‘mission creeping’ into the political affairs of the State’. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the Military Council has an exit strategy. Far from it, they are looking behind their backs and who is saying what against Frankie boy so that they can individually, ingratiate themselves with Frakie, by reporting on the others on their cell phones to the new wing. The Military Council are therefore afraid of their own shadows and of their own men and for their jobs for Frankie uses them and discards them as he so wishes. A sad state of affairs and until they trust their own convictions, Baleidrokadroka’s last paragraph will remain true.

  3. Malekata Ravisa Says:

    Ablaze, Frankie boy knows that it the treason trial against Baleidrokadroka goes ahead, he will have to say all that he knows about what actually happened back in 2000 and the events after the mutiny that saw the Military turn on itself and the order that was issued from the very pinnacle of leadership to kill Kalonivale, Bainimoli and others. No sound Army Officer would have done so. Only one that has no clue about unity of command and a feel for his men and women. That describes Frankie boy. I hope therefore that the trial starts sooner rather than later so that the truth will be revealed.

  4. painter Says:

    @MR – not sad but tragic. Military objectives are not necessarily viewed by us civilians as the ‘right objectives’ which is why I agree with you that an interim ‘civilians-only’ govt is urgently needed to map out an exit strategy that’ll lift us all out of this quagmire created by Franky & Co.

    And as u’ve rightly pointed out, man’s greatest weakness – is DOUBT
    (Matthew 14:31)

  5. Malekata Ravisa Says:

    Thanks Painter. Both sad and tragic. From the beginning, it appears that Frankie boy was driving the military objective and those who opposed the 2006 coup had their long years of service terminated. Saubulinayau, Baleidrokadroka, Caucau and others like Saumatua, who voiced dissension were forced to go. Frankie boy has dismembered and bastardize a once proud institution and how elder members of the Military Council like Manueli can still be in when the whole country is now being bastardize is also tragic. There is no honour amongst thieves and swindlers and we the people are being forced along in their driving and raw ambition for power at all costs. Sad and tragic.

  6. painter Says:

    … but not entirely un-salvageable?

  7. Malekata Ravisa Says:

    You mean salvageable? Indeed but do some in the military have the cajones to do what must be done? I believe so. Let us wait and see.

  8. painter Says:

    lol! I meant exactly as I had said… okey dokey, its late and we all need our beauty sleep. And yes, ‘let’s wait and see’ and be patient like Job (in the bible).

  9. Malekata Ravisa Says:

    All the best Painter. It is very late in Fiji and need to rest the weary body for work.

  10. painter Says:

    Moce mada, God keep you safe in Kabul.

  11. tunada Says:

    Baledrokadroka supported George Speight in 2000 and was on his way to parliament when stopped by another Colonel. Ask the guy from Kabul, he knows. Baledrokadroka led the troops in smashing the guys at Kalabu Fijian School and knows who all killed the CRW guys because they were working on his orders. Dont be quick to praise someone who is trying to redeam his image. All the beatings in 2000 can be answeared by him because he was leading it.

  12. Ablaze Says:

    Thank you tunada we need to know all this to pass it on to the youth of today. Anyone and I mean anyone that had anything to do with any of the coups should be known and not admired or praises. Look at Manueli why doesn’t he come out and save the country? I am sure he knows a lot.

    @Delano, Please if you are reading this stay with us as you were right it is the people with personal animosties, hunger for power, personal greed etc that have ruined it for us. It started with high profile chiefs and politicans.

    Keep talking folks for eventually everyone will realize that this is the problem. We cannot end the coup culture and move forward until we have leaders like Ratu Joni! “Honesty is Always the Best Policy” No hidden Agendas Please!

    @SV thank you! It seems of late we have gathered more new names to the blog site!

    More! More! More! Please.

  13. coffee bean Says:

    Wasn’t SV just stating the facts there on Baledrokadroka (in blue typos), tunada?

  14. coffee bean Says:

    Am with you there Ablaze on ‘more, more’ please!

  15. Peace Pipe Says:

    Jone should come to the point and tell us why Vore carried out the coup (we have our own opinions) since he would have a lot of information about the pig which we are not privy to. Weren’t they best of buddies before they parted friends. The article lacks the punch that would be expected of someone who was aggrieved by the pig. I am sure he knows more but is holding back a lot.

  16. butterscotch Says:

    Io, move over da vinci code.

  17. Push Tailevu Says:

    JB should pour out, why he was terminated from the army, upon reading, still uncleared why was he left out. I was one of the outsiders looking into the stormed of army at Kalabu School in 2000. I was saddened how army treats the old ladies and children, it was really harsh….but thats how the army is drilled….They were taught to kill but to respect lives….

    With the IG, things are not looking good for us the democratic people, it seems we will have to wait for another 3 years to get election

    PLease honourabe people, speak the truth out, so that grassroot people will understand and learn the truth.

  18. Striker Says:

    They’re all the same to me; get rid of the military and the coup culture will take care of itself!

  19. Ablaze Says:

    Thank Push Tailevu we are on the same wave length. Keep it coming folks, we are going to fight and beat this the right way!

    To all the bloggers thank you very much! This is our freedom on Solivakasama!

  20. Bechu Says:

    It was JB who ordered the main gate at QEB to be closed locking Frank out of the camp in 05. Unfortunately he could not finish his mission and Frank kicked his arse. It was JB too who led the Army team here to the North who shot and killed a deaf and dumb man in Dreketi, Macuata.
    He should therefore own up or shut up.

  21. coffee bean Says:

    Areh Bechu, why should he? What’s to say JB was not merelycarrying out his responsibilities/duties to the letter to defend their fort & boys? Morals don’t feature when you’re on the defence, hesitate and you’re dead!

  22. coffee bean Says:

    But you hve a point in that these were civilians they were beating up… except for the fact that these guys are trained for war, unlike the police. Tragic… but also needs to be discussed openly and put in its proper perspective, don’t you think?

  23. Jone Says:

    I second that motion Striker. Military is a waste of time and money, get rid of it and Fiji will finally find peace.

  24. tunada Says:

    Ask any of the colonels who are now out of the army. Colonel Saubulinayau and Saumatua will tell you that Baledrokadroka was the one who would encourage Frank in just about any meeting to oust the Qarase government. Everyone in the army knows that including the soldiers and thats why nobody supported him when he wanted to oust Frank. He claims to be a strateigist but any person in the right frame of mind wouldnt have attempted what he did. Na lialia ga e cakava tu na ka e saga.

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