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ANALYSIS: GCC’s Defining Moments

ANALYSIS: GCC’s Defining Moments
April 29
14:22 2016

There were two defining moments for the Great Council of Chiefs.

One was in 1987 in the first military coup led by Sitiveni Rabuka.

Second was in 2000 in the George Speight coup.

They showed that the GCC had become irrelevant. It was powerless to stop the coups and the associated violence.

In 1987 the GCC watched passively as ultra-nationalists iTaukei forced the hands of the military to intervene and overthrow the democratically-elected government of Dr Timoci Bavadra, a commoner from Viseisei, Vuda.

If the GCC indeed had the stabilising influence as the Opposition claimed, it would have urged all iTaukei to stop the protests and respect the outcome of a democratic process and they would have listened.

Or was it afraid that it would be ignored and suffer public insult?

It was common knowledge that a majority of the GCC members supported the Alliance government of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara which was defeated in the polls by Dr Bavadra’s Fiji Labour Party-National Federation Party coalition.

The iTaukei Movement protests spewed out naked racism. It strongly objected to a government dominated by Indo-Fijians.

When the GCC intervened after the coup, it was too late. The gains and progress we achieved since our Independence in 1970 were lost. The GCC had another opportunity in 2000 to redeem itself. Again it failed. It could not stop the hundreds of iTaukei who rioted and looted shops in Suva streets.

The Speight coup deposed prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry, the country’s first Indo-Fijian PM.

On both counts the GCC cannot be regarded as a stabilising influence over national events as claimed by the Opposition in its campaign to restore it.



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