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2014 Elections -Exit Strategy or Guardian State?

March 8, 2010

Just how will Frank exit if there are ever elections in 2014?

The political situation in Fiji according to Professor Stewart Firth can best be exemplified by the tension in rights- based and numbers-based principles of political legitimacy.
Since the 1940’s until the first coup in 1987, Indian numbers matched and exceeded those of Fijians. Hence Indian commitment to numbers based principles of political legitimacy have been prominently articulated by its elite.
Accordingly as pointed to by Professor Brij Lal, the late NFP’s AD Patel was the champion of such a principle. So should he have been given the increasing Indian population since the 1940’s.
Ever since the Fiji Indians have historically appealed to majority rule and race-blind citizenship as the principle that the system of government should be built on as they could not claim land rights or sovereignty on the basis of original occupiers. Fijian elite have been recalcitrant according to critics in accepting such a principle for a number of good reasons.
Now the pendulum has swung and the shoe is on the other foot so to say. The reverse in demographic trend since the 1987 coup which according to the 2007 census sits at 57% Fijians and 38% Indians respectively favours Fijians politically. A forecast of demographic trends heavily favours further Fijian dominance judging by the latest 2009 bureau of statistic figures for migration.
The numbers based principle of political legitimacy is now downplayed by the minority Indian backed Fiji Labour Party. Obviously they prefer the status quo communal voting system which guarantees them Indian parliamentary seats. This system incidentally is still used and work in racially polarised communities such as Northern Ireland and Guyana.
For younger generation Fijians now part of a networked globalized world, a rights based principle of political legitimacy has also captured their attention. More so the UN Indigenous rights declaration of Sept 13th, 2007 has gathered solidarity amongst the younger generation.

The Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues. It also "emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations" It "prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples", and it "promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development".
In especially Article 5 states, “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.”
Given this monumental UN declaration quite similar to the UN Decolonization declaration in 1960, the historic march of time may have rendered Bainimarama’s claim to riding the nation of race based politics archaic and irrelevant.
Because now for Fijian political awareness, rights- based and numbers-based principles of political legitimacy have given them the moral right as an indigenous global minority group that is now rooted in international legality and norm. For now their need to band together is even greater in the enduring politics of identity.
As it is, Frank Bainimarama has bought into this numbers based principle if through an illegal route. More confusingly he sees himself as the guardian of this ‘democratic’ political order at the expense of destroying indigenous institutions contrary to the UN declaration on Indigenous rights amongst others. In fact Australia and New Zealand have embraced this Indigenous Rights Declaration.

The only option for him and his regime is abdication and the disengagement from politics as he is in a no-win situation. Indonesia with post Suharto great leaders such as ex General President Yudhoyono is the latest nation-state that has gone this route. Democracy Now!

Kai Colo
www.solivakasama.org

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Soko permalink
    March 9, 2010 4:27 PM

    Food For Thought.

    “Without country you have neither name, token, voice, nor rights, no admission as brothers into the fellowship of the Peoples. You are the bastards of Humanity. Soldiers without a banner, Israelites among the nations, you will find neither faith nor protection; none will be sureties for you. Do not beguile yourselves with the hope of emancipation from unjust social conditions if you do not first conquer a Country for yourselves”

    Mazzini, Giuseppe

  2. March 10, 2010 2:36 PM

    Whether its Crank, Tom, Dick or Harry in control it will never end.
    The coup is a culture now closely associated with the military and that can not be changed, until you remove the perpetrators.
    Change the electrol system, bring in a new constitution and do what ever you can, the milk has been spilt.
    Disband the whole military force, they are costing the country a fortune to maintain.
    They have brought shame to a country that was once promoted to be, the way the world should be.
    The present police force should be able to look after the Law in the country, nobody is going to invade us.
    Thats my assumption for the exit strategy for the coup culture in Fiji.
    God Bless Fiji

  3. Nostradamus permalink
    March 10, 2010 8:40 PM

    The military must go.
    It upsets the power structure.
    Fiji leadership is not mature enough to have a military.
    Start over with no military, like Japan and Germany.
    Put the energy into education and the economy instead.

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