Gau Trip Helps Consolidate Bainimarama’s Popularity

Gau is in a celebratory mood this week. Its people have every reason to be happy. They met the person who has been responsible for all the developments that have
29 Jun 2016 10:24
Gau Trip Helps Consolidate Bainimarama’s Popularity
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama gives his statement in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.

Gau is in a celebratory mood this week.

Its people have every reason to be happy. They met the person who has been responsible for all the developments that have transformed the island over the years.

They welcomed Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, in a two-day visit there, and told him they were thankful for the development assistance they had received from his Government. They greeted him in a full traditional ceremony at Sawaieke Village before he went on his tour.

It was towards the end of his tour at the same village that Gau villagers presented their traditional apology called matanigasau to him. They apologised for voting for SODELPA MP Anare Vadei in the 2014 General Elections and pledged their allegiance to Mr Bainimarama and FijiFirst.

Gau is part of the Lomaiviti group, a very parochial group of islands, that will always stand by their own people.

Mr Vadei is from there and that was why they supported him. But they have now witnessed for themselves that Mr Bainimarama is a man of his word. He promised to help them and he did. They have also learned that Mr Bainimarama has done similar things around the country.

The villagers are impressed with his compassion and sincerity in reaching out to help the poor and the vulnerable of society.

At Lovu Village, women there could not help it. They threw away the formalities and protocol, put up a roadblock and stopped Mr Bainimarama’s vehicle, just to show their appreciation for the good work his Government is doing. Such spontaneous show of joy and gratitude underlines what new developments on the island mean to them.

It was not on the script of this tour. But it’s the best way to gauge the people’s feelings.

It’s a better way than the arranged official ceremonies. No doubt, Mr Bainimirama loved it. He had to leave the vehicle and follow the women to a shed where he was entertained by a powerful male voice group.

Across Gau, in the last two days, his trip resonated well with the people. He went there and returned to Suva in a Navy boat and if he had his way there would be no ceremonies.

But he respected the local traditional culture and took the time to meet the ordinary people in talanoa and informal sessions.

The Gau trip is a continuation of his visits to meet the grassroots people up and down the country. It further strengthens his popularity and support from them. He seems unconcerned with the changes happening in the Opposition, particularly with SODELPA leadership.

He knows that whatever happens in any political party, politicians will go to the people come 2018 to ask for their votes.

Mr Bainimarama has very little to worry about even with Sitiveni Rabuka coming in as new SODELPA leader. He has done enough to guarantee him a second term in Government. Only a miracle will change that.

Nemani Delaibatiki



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