NEWS

Indo-Fijians Swing To FijiFirst

Many Indo-Fijians, traditional supporters of the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party, are joining FijiFirst in large numbers. Some have publicy declared their change of allegiance from NFP
09 Sep 2014 08:53

Many Indo-Fijians, traditional supporters of the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party, are joining FijiFirst in large numbers.

Some have publicy declared their change of allegiance from NFP and FLP and their stories have been published in the Fiji Sun.

The majority want to keep a low profile because of what they describe as a possible backlash.

“It can be nasty. The word will go around and you can become a target of verbal harassment and vilification,” said one Indo-Fijian.

“We will go along with them (old party) but on the day of polling, we will vote FijiFirst.”

These are the reasons for the swing to FijiFirst:

– FijiFirst and its leader Voreqe Bainimarama will provide security and stability. He has proved himself in the last eight years. Security and stability are big items for Indo-Fijians.

They are still reminded of what happened in the 1987 and 2000 political upheavals where they became victims of racial and religious attacks. Mr Bainimarama offers them protection from racial and religious bigotry and extremism.

– Equal citizenry gives Indo-Fijians equality and hope. They are no longer second class citizens and now enjoy equal opportunities.

– Indo-Fijians are now called Fijians. The common name gives them a sense of identity and belonging. It’s what some of  their forbearers fought for but never saw it to fruition. Although they belong to opposite camps, they salute Mr Bainimarama for fulfilling a dream for them.

They are disillusioned by their parties for their failure to address the issue in a definitive way. They do not like the political posturing that has prevented their parties from taking a firm position. To them, there is only position – endorse the common identity and support Fijian as the common name. Instead their parties have been sitting on the fence.

– Secular state. It gives Indo-Fijians the freedom to practise their religion. At the State level there is no dominant religion. They believe that this provision in the Constitution promotes religious unity and tolerance.

– The Constitution protects the rights of each individual to things like education, economic participation, just minimum wage, access to transportation, housing and sanitation, adequate food and water, health, social security schemes and many more.

– The FijiFirst manifesto is a testament of the party’s commitment to improving the lifestyle of the ordinary people. The power subsidy, free water and medicine for low income-earning families, plus the $10 million grant for iTaukei landowners underscore this commitment.

– FijiFirst’s policies are non-discrimnatory, forward-looking, progressive and transformative. They are a huge change from the old ways of doing things. The new electoral system is revolutionary. The one national constituency and one-person-one-vote system will foster national unity and development cohesion. It will eliminate inter-provincialism and narrow sectional interests.

– The Preamble of the Constitution recognises the descendants of the indentured labourers from British India and the Pacific Islands, their culture, customs, traditions and language. It also recognises the descendants of the settlers and immigrants to Fiji, their culture, customs, traditions and language. Indo-Fijians are represented in these two categories.

– Free education, free bus fare for students are a big relief for many Indo-Fijians in the lower socio-economic group.

“FijiFirst has everything that we want. They have the right policies. But we are in the wrong party,” said another Indo-Fijian who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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