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The moment a nation cries its heart out

August 23, 2013

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I was totally taken by surprise today to have learnt of the unveiling of the purported ‘final version of Fiji’s constitution’. I was surprised because, naturally, when a document of such importance and magnitude is finally unveiled, it is done so after and only after it has been deliberated on and thoroughly scrutinised by specialists who have mastered the art of writing instruments of such importance as this. By right, in a democracy, it can only be unveiled after the views of the majority of the people or their representatives have been carefully considered. Sorry, I almost forgot that we are still being run under dictatorship regime.

We are being led to believe that this constitution should clear the way for Fiji’s first general election after the illegal takeover of 2006. However, developing countries such as Fiji should place an even greater weight on the rule of law. It’s crucial that before the first elections, before politicians gain enormous legitimacy through the polls, a system be put in place that limits governmental power and protects individual liberty and the rights of minorities. Has this been enshrined in this document? I will say not to the extent that it will be universally accepted by everyone in Fiji, let alone internationally.

I was surprised by Khaiyum’s casual, cheeky and almost taunting demeanour when unveiling this important document for the world to see. It was almost unbearable to see his cheeky smile as if he was trying to tell the rest of us to go to hell. Literally, that is probably where his instrument is taking Fiji to. He is probably thinking what a legal wizard he is, but to everyone who can read and write, the motives behind the design and contents of the documents are all too clear. A document of such importance, when treated and developed in such cavalier and amateurish manner by its sponsors, deserves to be rejected outright and thrown into a bin to fuel nationwide derision, ridicule and contempt.

We all know that Professor Yash Ghai was brought to Fiji for the purposes of drafting a widely consulted constitution. Unfortunately, Fiji’s hopes that were prematurely raised after his appointment, knowing the values and the calibre of the man, vanished the moment his draft documents were ceased and destroyed by the military and police.

The current document, unfortunately, has no mandate from the ordinary people of Fiji other than the illegal regime itself. It is becoming increasingly clear as daylight that it was only designed to safeguard the best interests of the illegal regime and its supporters from the inevitable which is life imprisonment, for their treasonous conduct and also to keep this illegal regime in power for as long as possible.

Fiji, the country and its people cannot be forever held to ransom. They cannot forever be good winked and forced to accept an important document where, even their god given rights, are purposefully omitted. Someone should be held accountable. Time will be the best judge.

Rusi Varani for SWM

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