Thursday, September 02, 2010

Where to now Fiji: the choice is yours

Thursday, September 2, 2010


By Jone Baledrokadroka

In reviewing Fiji’s Security Development nexus since Voreqe Bainimarama and his military regime usurped power on December 5, 200 the question is simply this - ?

What do you think is better: To live in an orderly society, even though all your liberties are limited, or to respect all of the rights and liberties, even if this causes some disorder?

If your preference is for the first, then the future of democracy in Fiji is grim. Indeed, you have fallen victim of the ‘Boiling frog syndrome’ as the military regime has made you a captive of ‘democracy denial’, and enslaved you to its monthly Public Emergency Regulation Decree extensions.

In many Latin American countries, where disorder and crime were persistent in the 1950s to the 1970s, it was fashionable to support strong-handed rule instead of popular participation in politics.

Today, the phenomenon has been totally overturned with the wave of democratization. Preference then was linked to, as suspected, education with the less well-educated being more likely to be willing to sacrifice rights for order than the better-educated.

The simple logic used by many dictators, hence, has been the perennial linkage of security to development.

With the Fiji media censored, regime propaganda has embellished the achievements of regime decreed “order” that have translated into decreed “progress”. This is contrary to many suspicions of the true situation, as voiced by Fiji Women rights activist Shamima Ali (ABC Radio 1/9).

The hard question then is this: If security was championed as the fundamental benefit of a dictatorial regime is not translated into development - or better still enjoyed by the acquiescent people, then what use is that regime in power, especially if it didn't have popular legitimacy in the first place?

This is where the Teleni and Prasad ‘resignation’ comes into play.

Apart from all other SNAFU’s, this is why former Police Commissioner Esala Teleni and Finance Permanent Secretary John Prasad had to exit the stage before another annual United Nations Assembly ‘have- pity- on- me’ address by Bainimarama.

Teleni and Prasad's ‘resignations’ is a clear admission of ongoing failures, not to mention all the other botched half-baked policies and fiscal strategies.

The two all-powerful state appendages, the Police (headed by Ganilau) and Finance Ministry (headed by Bainimarama) have failed miserably.

The dictator finally realized that the finger was also pointing to him and his Defence Minister. So he had to spite his nose to save his face. High hypocrisy was exposed by him failing to live up to his own publicly-espoused rhetoric, “Only the military can bring about change”.

Both of the fall guys were the face of the present state of security and development – the stick and carrot of the regime after four years in power.

Yet another cruel hoax has been played on the people. We have all been the victims of the abject failure of strategic policy and operational management of an almost bankrupt, confused government led by the blind.


Who’s next? Don’t ASK me ..... ASK the military council.

Jone Baledrokadroka is a PhD in politics candidate at ANU Canberra

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