Thursday, November 18, 2010

Collapse of the Fiji regime: trickle of discontent now a raging torrent

Posted on COUP FOUR POINT FIVE - 18 November 2010
THE FORMER TIGHT THREE: Fracas over Fiji Water has opened up wider gulf.

By Jone Baledrokadroka

The resignation of Ratu Epeli Ganilau as acting illegal prime minister seems to have taken most by surprise.  But as the English 17th Century political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, once  said  “a political crisis is never a lightening in a summer day; it is always the consequence and the conclusion of a persistent bad weather”.

It's said Epeli Ganilau's resignation was triggered by the Fiji Water dispute with the interim regime over tax issues. The command came from China three days into our Illegal Prime ministers ‘trade talks’. If so, this is another well-established Bainimarama modus operandi - he likes to dish out unsavory orders for others to execute, from the safety of international distance. It also shows the people that he and his side kick Aiyaz Khaiyum is in control.  

Family and politics

With the little that has come to light, one would think that Ratu Epeli took his principled stand based on the evidence before him. Or is it that the former Commander RFMF and chair of the Great Council of Chiefs had had enough after signing off on the illegal Attorney General’s previous illegal deportation orders the last four years,  and decided to make a stand for justice? Or could it be that it was the last straw, for being used to deport yet another close family friend, like Mr. Dugdale? Personal family agendas and political agendas, it appears, have intermeshed in this latest crisis.

I would argue, however, that the years of power struggle within the Bainimarama regime is coming to a head. Many military regimes have suffered a similar fate. And for a country that badly needs political and economic stability, more stormy weather is predicted in the weeks ahead. And that's not withstanding the damage that this crisis is doing to investors and security travel advisories; worse still, to a psychologically downtrodden people in limbo.

In one of my articles, I explained the military concept of the culminating point. The point at which a force no longer has the capability to continue its form of operations. Land Force Commander Brigadier Driti and the Fiji military, I argued, would have  worked out that the military regime had metaphorically reached that point months back and was seeking a way out.

In December 1942, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel after his defeat at El  Al Amein it is said, warned Hitler that victory over the Allies could not be achieved. Till April 1945,  the dictator’s Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, kept churning out lies to the German people that victory was imminent. Millions more died as a result.

The illegal Attorney General, Aiyaz Khaiyum, is now playing the role of Goebbels in the Fiji regime's dying days; trying to keep the whole shebang together, as the main players in the clique around the despotic Bainimarama are sacked or desert the ‘noble cause’. The list is long and why bother regurgitating it as there will be more to add in the coming weeks.

But what a Mickey Mouse situation the nation finds itself.  An acting Prime Minister resigning whilst entrusted with keeping watch over the state and another acting acting Prime Minister chosen in the flicker of an eyelid by an illegal Prime Minister on literally a slow boat to China!

Secret talks
What would have triggered the resignation (from the kitchen some would offer) for Ratu Epeli as benefactor to abandon his creation, the Commander RFMF Commodore Josaia Vorege Bainimarama? Or is he doing an ‘Esala Teleni’ to be reincarnated as a diplomat, to the court of St James, perhaps?

The truth is there had been secret talks with the SDL party, other local political stake holders and certain senior military officers about returning the country to democracy and immediate elections. In the ever changing face of Fijian politics, those power brokers behind the plot involved an approach to Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Their grievances stemmed from their dislike of a whole raft of Aiyaz Khaiyum’s policies through decrees and his hold on a mesmerized  Bainimarama. This struck a chord with Ganilau. This plot was sprung by Bainimarama’s embedded military intelligence nationwide. 

The fallout has been the suspension of Brigadier Pita Driti and Lt Colonel Tevita Mara. They remain on the periphery of power, no doubt watched by Bainimarama spies. What the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau decides on their future careers remains another crisis point, especially with Bainimarama’s ally Minister Cokanasiga as Defence Minister.

Commodore Bainimarama has likewise positioned Lt Col Mosese Tikoitoga and Lt Col Jone Kalouniwai at Land Forces  and Major Suliano as CO 3FIR in union with  Commander Kean of the Navy and Lt Col Langman of the Engineers  to keep him in power.

Just desserts

Police Commissioner Naivalurua will play the waiting game. The roll of the dice may determine all their loyalties the next few days.

Aiyaz Khaiyum, who is clinging to Bainimarama and Brigadier Aziz,  and their hard core band of military supporters for dear life, has to be ever vigilant to keep the ship of state on course. It seems even those on the captains’ deck are abandoning ship with substantiated permanent secretary  at the prime minister’s office Lt Colonel  Pio Tikoduadua also tending his resignation. 

The joke doing the rounds was that poor Pio, when tending his resignation letter to the acting Prime Minister  Ratu Epeli, was told  “Vosota au sa liu!”“ (Sorry, I beat you to it!). The coming days will be interesting times no doubt with frantic phone calls between China and Fiji.  

To all pro-democracy advocates, may be it is time to pause a little and have a nice Ice cream cup of joy like they sell in Nausori town.

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    Fiji Water director leaves Fiji

    FBC News - Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Fiji Water's Director of Development and External Affairs, David Roth, has left the country.

    Differences within government over an issue concering Mr. Roth led to the resignation of Defence and Immigration minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau.
    Roth left Fiji on a 10.45pm flight from Nadi to Los Angeles.
    FBC News understands Roth's wife and child remain in Fiji for now.
    Report by : Shereel Patel


    Breaking! Illegal regime to deport head of Fiji Water, David Roth, tonight

    The illegal regime of Fiji has forged ahead with its plans to deport Fiji Water's, David Roth.

    The director external affairs and development for Fiji Water will be put on an Air Pacific Flight tonight at 10.45pm, bound for Los Angeles.

    The deportation orders were signed by the new acting Minister of Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga, who was installed yesterday after Epeli Ganilua called it quits.
    Ganilau, who is good friends with Roth and his family, resigned when he was asked to sign off the deportation.
    Immigration officers took the papers on Tuesday night to Ganilau to sign, but he refused and went on instead to resign.
    Coupfourpointfive believes Roth is already in Nadi in preparation for tonight's deportation to LA, but that his wife, Sandra, and children remain in the country.

    Picture: David Roth and wife Susan in 2007 when he told Fiji Times: "Fiji Waters investment is quite strong and we have made significant investment in Fiji. We even have more significant investment coming. We are about to inaugurate the third line of production at the Yaqara facility."

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