Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rabuka To Speak at Canterbury University Conference on Pacific Democracy

Former Fiji PM Rabuka
A former Fijian prime minister who led two military coups in the island nation is coming to Christchurch. 

Major General Sitiveni Rabuka will be a key speaker at a Pacific conference on democracy at the University of Canterbury on October 18 and 19.

Rabuka staged two coups in Fiji in 1987 in an attempt to reassert ethnic Fijian supremacy.
In 2006, he officially apologised for his role in the coups, saying they were "democratically wrong".

Rabuka became Fiji's elected prime minister in 1992 as leader of the Fijian Political Party.

Fiji committed to democratic elections in 2014 and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully recently said New Zealand would reappoint a high commissioner to Fiji and relax travel sanctions.

Rabuka will speak at the conference on the rule of law, economics, human rights and development. He is one of several Pacific leaders who will attend the conference.

Other speakers include former National Cabinet minister Sir Don McKinnon, Tongan Deputy Prime Minister Sam Viapulu, Samoan Justice Minister Fiame Mataafa, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty and Labour MPs Phil Goff and Charles Chauvel.

The conference will be held in honour of associate professor John Henderson, who recently retired from Canterbury University. He carried out substantial research into Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australian politics over many years. 

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz

Australia Network News

Democracy has been wounded': Former Fiji coup leader

Sitiveni Rabuka
Photo: Former Fijian army commander and prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka (Reuters: AFP, File photo)

The man responsible for Fiji's first two military coups says the series of coups in the country has been a serious setback for democracy.

Major General Sitiveni Rabuka staged two coups in Fiji in 1987 in an attempt to reassert ethnic Fijian supremacy. He is due to be a keynote speaker at a conference on democracy at University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

"Democracy has suffered it has been wounded. It's up to us to recover from the wounds and move forward," he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat.

He officially apologised for the coups in 2006 saying they were democratically wrong. He told Radio Australia he hopes Fiji's new constitution will be framed to ward against coups.

"Hopefully we will come up with a system of government, a constitution, that will prevent future any further military coups," he said. He told Radio Australia the country's culture needed to change to a point where coup-installed governments are no longer accepted by the people. "We just have to put in place, not a system to prevent coups, but an understanding that coup-de-tats are not the way to go in a democratic society," he said.
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