Friday, June 10, 2011

Shortsighted Auckland Group Fails to Seize Opportunity with Roko Ului Mara

Posted on Coup Four Point Five - 10 June 2011

NZ Government Put on the Spot over Roko Ului Mara

Sai's Comments:
  • It is sad that Nik Naidu fails to recognise the opportunity presented by Roko Ului's campaign to galvanise support in the quest to oust the illegal and dictatorial regime of Bainimarama.

  • It would appear Nik would want us to constantly become a perennial protest group without a chance at really effecting change when the opportunity arises.

  • I say to Nik, look at the long term benefit for Fiji and its people if Roko Ului can add impetus to the efforts of his group and those of us campaigning from afar to rid Fiji of the tyrant Bainimarama. Do not be so caught up in your own world for its own sake without seizing the chance to effect real change and achieve quick results. Nik for one has been harping on about the plight of Fijians under the current regime in Fiji. So what is to be gained by marking time just to exact revenge on Roko Ului Mara because of what he had been part of?

  • Roko Ului has stated numerously of his commitment to rid the regime in Fiji and also face up to his part in that regime. For Fijians like me, that is good enough so long as we do not lose sight of the ultimate goal - ridding Fiji of Bainimarama and returning Fiji to democratic rule.

  • Exacting revenge for its own sake has no part in the greater goal of returning Fiji to its rightful place among civilised nations. That is far more important than being cast in the mould of perennial protestors for its own sake.
  • Just like Nik, some of us have also written to NZ leaders supporting its position on Fiji and advising they allow Roko Ului free movement among groups in NZ fighting to rid Fiji of Bainimarama and his lackeys.
It may be harder for the former 3FIR Commander, Roko Ului Mara, to get into New Zealand than originally thought.
The Auckland-based Fiji democracy group has gone public about lobbying the New Zealand government not to give Mara a travel visa to enter the country, saying he was only recently a member of the military regime and shouldn't get one.

The spokesperson for the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, Nik Naidu, also says it appears Mara has only joined the democracy movement because of a fall out with the regime and being charged for sedition.

Naidu says prior to that, Mara headed the regime's hit squad which was responsible for the torture of Fiji citizens at the barracks. He  says Mara's change of heart needs to be questioned.

"Suddenly he has seen the light and possibly because he has been removed from the military. It is a case of sour grapes we feel. He really is the worst type of officers in Fiji. He's the one who led a lot of the arrests, illegal detentions and tortures and how come he suddenly has become a supporter of democracy."
Mara arrived in Australia yesterday and wants to visit New Zealand next as part of a Pacific-wide campaign to rally support against the Frank Bainimarama regime.
He's been given a Tongan passport, which may have helped him get his visa for Australia but New Zealand authorities say they're still deciding over his application and a request for an exemption.
But Naidu today told Radio New Zealand the democracy movement will oppose Mara's visa application and are writing to the Prime Minister, John Key, to register their opposition.

Naidu says they will also be asking New Zealand to clarify its position regarding the smart sanctions, where military are concerned.

Coupfourpointfive has also questioned the speed with which Key said Mara might be allowed into New Zealand.

While buoyed by the thought of the treasonous regime being brought down with the help of a former senior officer, this blog has not been blind to Mara's not-too-recent-past and the opposition to him.

We wrote to John Key on May the 25th after he told Kiwi media Mara was no longer military and he didn't see any reason why he shouldn't be allowed into New Zealand.

Among other questions, we asked Key the following:

1) Many people in Fiji would applaud you for saying Mara and his wife could be allowed into New Zealand. But there are others who think this is rash. Why have you been so sympathetic to Mara?

2) Other soldiers could see this as a way out for them as well. Would New Zealand be prepared to offer them political refuge as well?

3) Our readers have made the point that Mara is not a political prisoner - why then is he being taken off the travel ban list? Would New Zealand do this for a soldier who is not so well-known?

Key's office has confirmed our email but have not replied to our  questions.

The Leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff, however, sent us a statement that said in part this: "Tevita Mara is now effectively a political refugee. He can't go back to Fiji without the high risk of persecution, without expectation of a fair trial given that the independence of the judiciary has been subordinated to the control of the military regime.

"That means he could be considered for asylum. That however does not relieve him of being held to account in due course for the role he played in overthrowing Fiji's elected Government by force."

But Naidu thinks Mara "should go back to Fiji where he should be tried under those new rules, those draconian rules, that he helped put put in place. How come they suddenly not good enough for him to be tried under when it has been okay for him to try all these other people in Fiji who've been fighting for democracy, to be tried and jailed under?"


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