Saturday, February 02, 2008

Parties attempt to derail charter

Friday, February 01, 2008

THE Citizens Constitutional Forum has accused two political parties of attempting to derail the proposed People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

CCF executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki condemned statements by the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party and the National Federation Party which stated that the charter was an initiative of the interim Finance Minister.

He said the statements were an attempt to derail the Charter process.

"It is appalling that although the 2007 Census has revealed that the population of Indo-Fijian and other minority ethnic groups in Fiji has decreased significantly, the SDL continues to play the race card to gain attention," Mr Yabaki said in a statement.

"The involvement of civil society has already brought in human dimensions of peace, development and independence to the charter process which would probably not be there if the process was left to party politics."

He said it was disturbing to note that SDL was "hell bent" on inflaming racial tensions more so since the party claims to represent the majority of Fijians.

"It has been made clear from the start that several members of civil societies were part of the consultations that created the Charter initiative. It is unfortunate that political parties such as the SDL and NFP keep trying to derail the Charter process."

He asked the two parties what they hoped to achieve and if they could suggest other means to move the country forward.

SDL director Peceli Kinivuwai said the party's decision not to join the Charter process was about upholding the principles of good governance and not about frustrating the efforts of the military and the interim regime.

"We are sticking by the Constitution and this is for the future governments and generations to have a document which they can look up to," he said.

"What we want to tell Yabaki, the interim government and the Fiji Labour Party is that if they want the Charter to go through to put it as a manifesto, take us to the polls and let the people choose."

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