Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Labour's hurried exit

Labour's hurried exit
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

THE Fiji Labour Party's exit from the interim government is the best move this organisation has made in recent history.

Many Labour supporters remain exasperated over the party's decision to join Voreqe Bainimarama in the first place.

Most refuse to accept the obvious truth that there was a link between the army's removal of the Qarase Government and the leadership of the political entity which they have supported for so long.

Now that elections appear to be on the horizon, Labour has conveniently decided that it is time to extricate itself from the situation and address the concerns of the people it represents.

If this is the real reason for the hurried exit, it will not absolve the involvement of party officials in a regime which has removed a democratically elected government and oppressed the people of this nation.

It has also been suggested that Labour's hurried departure is, in fact, due to the removal of Mahendra Chaudhry as interim Finance Minister.

If this is so, the party's weekend exercise was nothing more than a hypocritical attempt to save face. Whatever the future holds for Fiji, the final analysis will show that when it was time to fight for democracy, Labour joined the forces of oppression and trampled on the rights of the people of this nation.

The final analysis will also show that while in 1987, Labour and its supporters called for the removal of a military government, the party took a 180 degree turn in 2006 and gave tacit approval to a questionable regime.

Of course, the party will offer the excuse that it did what needed to be done to save the nation.

This same, feeble excuse was used by the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara after Sitiveni Rabuka removed Dr Timoci Bavadra's Labour Coalition in 1987.

The actions of Ratu Sir Kamisese and Mr Chaudhry lend an apparent legitimacy to military regimes and justification for the measures taken by the army.

In both cases these men elected prime ministers in their own right chose to work for and support the usurpers of power.

By doing so they allowed their supporters to believe that the removal of an elected government was a matter which could be overlooked in the interests of the nation.

This is a fallacy.

We must never again allow the destiny of this nation to be determined by a person who uses weapons and removes a government elected by the people.

If a government is to be removed in future, this must happen when the people use their only weapon the ballot box.

Chaudhry and Labour would do well to remember this as they begin their election campaign.

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