Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chiefs & Politicians Condemn Removal of GCC by Dictator Bainimarama

Opposition to the removal of the Great Council Of Chiefs by Dictator Bainimarama is widespread. Even the NGO CCF is also opposed to the unilateral decision to remove the august body in light of announced consultation on Fiji's new constitution.

Coup 4.5 posts a story below reporting on the position of some chiefs and politicians.

Adi Finau
Tui Cakau
Other chiefs, in addition to Ratu Tevita Mara, who have made their position known are Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro and Nadroga High Chief, Ratu Tevita Makutu.

United front on 'attack on GCC'

Fiji's leading political figures have all come out against the regime decision to abolish the Boselevu Vakaturaga saying it should've been left to the people, if not i-Taukei.

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says it's an attack on the paramount institution of indigenous Fijians and should not have happened, especially with the Constitution consultations underway.
Chaudhry admits the Great Council of Chiefs had become political, but questioned why they should be blamed when the military had also become political after the 1987 coup.

He says the Reeves Commission had suggested the composition of the GCC be changed to reflect its “contemporary role” as an advisory body and it should've been done by the Rabuka Government.
Chaudhry says the GCC was given due recognition in the 1970 and 1997 Constitutions and its dissolution at the time of the current discussions 'is surprising to say the least.'

The Former Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says if the august body of the paramount Chiefs of the majority community in Fiji can so easily be declared redundant, what about the traditional organisations of other communities?

"Will they all be made redundant as well to ensure a sense of fairness and a level playing field - and who exactly benefits from the removal of this important traditional body?"

Beddoes says there is no doubt that over the years the GCC’s role, especially in some of the coups perpetrated by the military, has given rise to questions about their role and impartiality in terms of the society generally.

"But they are not the only ones who have wavered in times of conflict. We all have at one time or another made judgments that have raised questions from our fellow citizens. The military itself has wavered from its role as protector of the people and instead turned its guns on the very people they all swore oaths to protect."

Soldier turned democracy advocate Roko Ului Mara says the decision to get rid of the GCC is calculated to culturally disenfranchise the Fijians.

"It is further evidence of the appalling double standards of Fiji’s military regime. While it preaches to others about the needs for respect and fairness, it has failed to apply these principles to its treatment of Fiji’s indigenous community.

"At a time when Fiji needs a calm environment for crucial constitutional discussions, the regime appears to have made a deliberate decision to raise tensions."

The deposed prime minister and SDL leader Laisenia Qarase, says the abolition of the GCC strikes at the very heart of indigenous Fijian society and traditional leadership.

"Indigenous Fijian society is now deeply wounded and hurt. The GCC has been the “custodian” of native land, culture and tradition. There is now a large vacuum in this important customary role."

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