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Analysis: Nawaikula Caught Out In Television ‘Performance’

Analysis: Nawaikula Caught Out In Television ‘Performance’
Member of opposition Niko Naweikula and Semesa Karavaki opn their way to the cabinet meeting on April 20,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.
July 11
14:15 2018

Niko Nawaikula looked like he was performing to a script for live television on Monday night.

But, he made a hash of it after his lie was caught out.

It seemed he was out to provoke the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for a verbal war.

It also appeared he enjoyed every minute of the sometimes heated exchange.

The lowest point of the debate was when he was caught out lying. When Mr Nawaikula was challenged on a statement he denied saying it.

The Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, had to ask Hansard to verify  it. It was confirmed he said it. He then withdrew the statement.

This is a disgraceful act by a Member of Parliament, who once said in the august House that it was okay to lie.

While Members of Parliament hide under the cover of parliamentary privilege, it does not necessarily mean that they are allowed to lie and get away with it.

What examples are the MPs setting for the young people and the rest of Fiji when they deliberately lie? It is a sad day for this country when we accept this kind of behaviour in Parliament.

It is unparliamentary and lowers the dignity and respect of Parliament.

While the parliamentary Standing Orders are silent on MPs caught out lying, it is time that this issue is seriously dealt with to hold those responsible accountable.

There should be measures to discourage lying like penalties for those found guilty.

Not only should offenders retract objectionable statements they should also apologise to targets of attack.

The more extreme measure is to eject them from Parliament for a day, for example.

The onus is on the Standing Orders Committee to consider and review the practices and procedures of Parliament and to make recommendations for their improvement or change or for the development of new practices and procedures.

The current Standing Orders were formulated based on the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives adopted by the House on February 24, 1999.

Past traditions and customs,

Constitution, and Westminster Parliament standards and international best practices were also considered.

The Standing Orders were adopted by Parliament as an interim document at its inaugural sitting then later amended by the Parliament on the recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee and a new amended version was adopted on December 1, 2014.

Because this is expected to be the last session of Parliament, any changes to the Standing Orders, if not discussed in this session, will have to wait for the new Parliament to convene after the 2018 General Election.

It is interesting to note that Mr Nawaikula is number two – a distant one – to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in the preferred deputy prime minister stakes in the public opinion survey conducted by the Fiji Sun-Razor polls.

It is not clear this may have influenced his attitude in Parliament.

What is clear is that he needs to look at some of his colleagues like Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa, Viliame Gavoka, Aseri Radrodro and Salote Radrodro as role models on how to speak across the floor to the Government side.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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