Politics And Development Do Not Mix
Fiji has already paid a heavy price where politics and development were mixed by unscrupulous politicians.
Our sugar industry took a beating because of politics.
Politicised unions who looked after their own interest, politicians using the cane belt area as voting blocs – all of this contributed towards the demise of a once thriving sugar industry.
The Great Council of Chiefs was yet another politicised body. Such a body had no place in a democracy where everyone is seen as equals and people are awarded based on merits and not based on their lineage.
Having said that, chiefs have played a role in their respective communities. But, they should play no role in politics.
The latest antic where some chiefs tried to lobby support so that there was no traditional welcome ceremony for Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Somosomo, Taveuni, fell flat on their face.
They lost face when some went ahead with the ceremony, despite feeble attempts of opposition.
There was a traditional ceremony because some used their heads, and at the end of the day common sense prevailed. Traditional ceremonies are not political tools that should be used at chiefs’ and politicians’ behest.
Their behaviour proved what Mr Bainimarama had been saying from day one about the politicisation of various institutions from day one.
The fact that this was in the backyard of Tui Cakau and SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka does not come as a surprise.
When chiefs start to meddle in politics and development issues, whose agenda are they advancing?
A hydro plant would benefit the very people who stay there. It would make life easier for them.
Such development benefits everyone, no matter what political party they support.
Politics and development do not mix and it is cheap shot to attempt to mix both.