Friday, December 14, 2012

Fiji Military Submission All ABout Preserving Ability to Intervene in Future

Dictator Bainimarama

Having read the submission by the Fiji Military to the Constitutional Commission, it is not surprising that its main thrust is about supporting the current regime's direction and preserving its ability to intervene in the future political affairs of the country. It is all about glorifying the achievements of the current regime and strengthening those organs of the State that will enable it to exert ongoing control on any future elected government. It is abhorrent to say the least and must be rejected outright as it will further destined Fiji to being a pariah state where genuine democracy will be never be allowed to take hold.

A brief summary of the key elements of the submission include the following:
  • loading the unelected President with numerous (executive, judicial, diplomatic & emergency) powers and functions, including being commander in chief of the military;
  • disturbing to note is the power to declare state of emergency such as the takeover of government on the pretext of civil disorder;
  • outside appointment to government of key ministerial figures such as Attorney General and Finance Minister. The submission goes to some length on the merits of having an AG appointed in this manner, no doubt aimed at paving the way for Khaiyum, who would never stand a chance of being elected!
  • hypocritically outlining an elaborate Code of Conduct for MPs while conveniently ignoring its trashing of its own credo or the absence of any audited government accounts since the 2006 military coup;
  • call to forcibly insert immunity for all its illegal actions right up to the start of an elected government;
  • inclusion in the Bill of Rights those existing decrees aimed at restricting rights and freedom of workers and unions in "essential industries";
  • limitations to various rights and freedoms by reason of the regime's favourite phrases of "national security, public safety, etc.. While some of these limitations may be warranted, the record of the disciplined forces is just horrendous in not abiding by the law.
  • submission ends with a report recounting what it regards as the achievements of the current regime. No doubt an attempt to talk up the fortunes of its dear leader and his illegal government.

In all, the submission sets out what the military regards as good and appropriate for others, while ensuring its position is strengthened and preserved. Its personnel are to be protected from facing the consequences of their criminal activities in any court of law and that no future parliament or law can revoke such an entrenchment. Finally, there is a threatening tone running through the submission, that the military will be keeping an eye on proceedings, with the ability and opportunity to intervene to right matters if things don't go the way they want. It is not true democracy but militocracy Bainimarama style and Fiji and its people must never allow it, ever.

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