Editorial: Words of Wisdom from President Konrote

The President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote yesterday delivered many profound words of wisdom at the opening of the Parliament 2017 -2018. This was his last ceremonial opening address in the
05 Sep 2017 10:59
Editorial: Words of Wisdom from President Konrote
The President Major General (ret’d) Jioji Konrote inspects the troops on parade to commemorate the opening of parliament on Monday September 4th, 2017. Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

The President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote yesterday delivered many profound words of wisdom at the opening of the Parliament 2017 -2018.

This was his last ceremonial opening address in the current four-year term of the FijiFirst Government.

Two days away we will be commemorating Constitution Day. The country’s supreme document has been the backbone of our remarkable progress since the 2014 general election. Mr Konrote says the Constitution gives us a way to live together, to govern and to make decisions. It expects us to make informed decisions and settle disputes in a respectful way, he adds.

“In some parts of the world, civilised disagreement is a luxury, and political differences are played out in street violence and civil wars.”

Next year, we go to the polls in our second election under the Constitution. The people will choose which Government they want  to govern the country. This is an important element of democracy that is enshrined in our Constitution.

Mr Konrote correctly says that Fijians will be tested in this election.

“We will be and should be challenged to contest this election on the basis of policies and principles — and truth.  Although it may be tempting in the heat of an election, we will be tested not to descend into demagoguery, race-baiting, ethnic profiling, diminished dignity and lies. This I urge you most earnestly: This election must be contested over policies, over the future, not ethnicity, religion or geography.”

These are wise words. We do not have to follow the examples of some countries where debate descends to the gutter level on the streets through lies, wild baseless accusations and violent acts. Real democracy allows us to differ without rancour.

Despite what critics say, the Constitution, through its founding principles of equal citizenry and common identity, has provided the stability to allow the country to progress economically and socially.

Opposition politicians’ bid to demonise the Supervisor of Elections is a feeble attempt to discredit the 2014 general election and cast doubt on the 2018 general election.

Because of the absence of evidence, the 2014 general election was declared credible and fair by  a Multinational Observer Group that monitored the election.

Fiji was recently elected to the Executive Board of the Association of World Election Bodies representing the Oceania Region.  The Association of World Election Bodies consists of 106 election Management bodies globally and this is the first time an Oceania seat has been included. Mr Konrote notes that this is proof that our electoral system, our electoral processes and the calibre of our personnel at the Fiji Elections Office have integrity and credibility, which are compliant with international standards and norms.

So we can all look forward to  next year’s election with confidence that  the democratic process will be upheld.

World Bank expanding here good sign for us

The World Bank Group has signed an agreement with Fiji to expand its office in Suva, which will serve as a hub supporting programmes across the South Pacific.

This strengthening of relations between Fiji and the World Bank is a good sign for the country. The expansion of its office in Suva is also an indication of the confidence they have in Fiji and our leaders.

It also shows that they see Fiji as a regional leader.

Charles Chambers


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