Monday, March 12, 2012

Redesigning Constitution Not Answer to Fiji's Problem, Restructuring Military Is


 ''The people of Fiji do not need another dose of civil education. It is the military that needs civil education so it knows its proper role as a civilian entity under the authority of elected politicians, and tasked to uphold the constitution. NOT TRASH IT WHEN IT SUITS ITS SEDITIOUS & TREASONOUS INTENT." 

I have real and genuine fears that people in Fiji are being hoodwinked by the illegal regime in wanting to just see an end to the current period of repression and misrule, into thinking that fixing the 1997 Constitution in the manner dictated by the regime, will solve Fiji's governance problems.

Dictator Bainimarama
The naked and unadulterated fact is that fixing the Constitution will not deal with the coup culture that has flourished in Fiji over the last quarter of a century. In fact, there is nothing greatly wrong with the 1997 Constitution. It just so happens that Bainimarama and his bunch of goons had to abrogate it when the 2009 Court of Appeal ruling went against them. Even those aspects identified by some as drawbacks could easily have been fixed as part of its scheduled review that is part of the document itself. After all, there has never been an ''ideal'' constitution and improvements can only be added over time as it evolves. 

As others have correctly noted, to rewrite the wheel is a total waste of time and resources that Fiji cannot afford. However, for Bainimarama and his regime, fixing the constitution is part and parcel of securing ''other'' unstated goals that were behind his 2000 and 2006 coups. One of which is to perpetuate his rule and the other to avoid being prosecuted for murder, treason and a raft of other charges.

Taufa Vakatale
For people like Taufa Vakatale among others, to postulate that the flawed voting system in the constitution was "why Qarase and Chaudhry could not work together", is sadly naive and shallow. A constitution cannot make two people to work together if they cannot find it in each other to do so. People give life and meaning to a constitution by acting out its stated purpose and principles. With such monumental lack of appreciation of what a constitution can and cannot achieve, Vakatale's statement and her membership of the Constitutional Commission, says more of the opportunist and regime sympathiser she is. Like others of her ilk, she has benefited from the regime's misrule over the years and despite her wanting the Commission to be independent, doubts will remain as to its ability to deliver an outcome that will not be aligned to the current regime's stance. She has even readily conceded and sympathetic to the placing of conditions by the regime on aspects of the new constitution to be "a non-racial and non-religious constitution". What a concession to make at the start of a process where the people are supposed to make their call on the kind of constitution they want. It just goes to show what a farcical exercise it may well turn out to be.

Any correct diagnosis of the governance problems besetting Fiji will have to identify the critical importance of dealing to the role of the military. Sadly though conveniently for Bainimarama, this issue has not been identified as of major importance in the constitution consultation process. It is not difficult to guess why! Any dictator would want to have at his disposal a means to alter matters if the outcome does not meet his expectations! 

Never forget his unstated goals mentioned above!

Fiji can have the "ideal constitution" Vakatale is naively believing is possible, but unless its military is restructured and re-educated, military takeovers will remain a constant threat.

Fiji does not need and certainly cannot afford a military of the size and shape as that currently. Far from upholding the constitution and guarding the nation and its people, it has instead become a death and brutalising instrument to trample on the rights and freedom of citizens. It has become tainted and its reputation tarnished by bad and poor leadership over the years and has definitely worsen since the 2000 coup. It needs a whole scale revamping and civil re-education to cleanse out the deep seated culture and malaise associated with misguided and illegal forays into matters political over the years.

The people of Fiji do not need another dose of civil education. It is the military that needs civil education so it knows its proper role as a civilian entity under the authority of elected politicians, and tasked to uphold the constitution. NOT TRASH IT WHEN IT SUITS ITS SEDITIOUS AND TREASONOUS INTENT. 

In the haste and relief to get a new constitution, Fiji and its people may well be fixing a problem that does not really exist and therefore get side tracked from actually dealing with what has been at the heart of its governance problems for a quarter of a century - a military that has ignored its proper role to be the protector of its people and upholder of the constitution.



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