Monday, June 11, 2007

"Interim Govt has limited Fijian support" - Sunday June 10, 2007

Former Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi says Fiji’s Interim Government formed by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is revealing.

"While multiethnic in character, it has limited Fijian support," Ratu Joni said.

He told a recent workshop on the Fiji coup in Canberra that those Fijian politicians in the interim cabinet were unsuccessful candidates at last year’s elections.

"There is only one member of the SDL Government represented and he is there by default.

"The Commander may well have had good reason for excluding the ousted SDL Government, but it undermines his legitimacy.

"The Interim Government is unfortunately perceived by many in the Fijian heartland as the handmaiden of Mr (Mahendra) Chaudhry.

"Many Fijians are convinced this was an Indo-Fijian coup. Still others think it was a Muslim coup because of the association with a few prominent Muslims.

"These perceptions, even if mistaken, pass for reality from which conclusions are drawn. The actual explanation is less inflammatory: the interest of various individuals and groups happen to coincide with the militaries. It was both opportunistic and principled, a few believing they were acting in the Nations interest.

Ratu Joni also noted that the effect the Commander has had in such a short time he had had centre stage is profound.

He said no other Fijian leader including Sitiveni Rabuka and Apolosi R Nawai had so directly confronted the Fijian administration and remained seeming unscathed.

"He has in turn scorned the SDL Government, the Methodist Church and the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV).He has had verbal jousts with those of the chiefly rank.

"In ousting the Qarase Government and in the arbitrary dismissals and removals of Government Chief Executive Officers, Statutory Corporation CEOs and members of Statutory and Corporation Boards, the Commander has guttered the Fijian middle classes.

"These are the ranks from which Fijian leaders would be expected to emerged," Ratu Joni said.

"For the future, he has ensured a sense of festering resentment that will be visited on the body politic in time to come.

Ratu Joni shared his thoughts on the December 2006 coup for the first time since resigning as VP at the workshop held at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Ratu Joni tendered his resignation to the Great Council of Chiefs or BLV after he was removed from office by the Commander.

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