Analysis

Analysis: Coup Question A New Attempt To Create Uncertainty About Future

The question was asked after the Land Force Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Colonel Manoa Gadai, reassured us that there would be no repeat of the 2000 mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in the wake of the George Speight coup.
05 Nov 2019 10:00
Analysis: Coup Question A New Attempt To Create Uncertainty About Future
From left: Niko Nawaikula, Dr Timoci Bavadra and Sitiveni Rabuka.

Will there be another coup? Asks SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula.

ANSWER: Those who ask this question are people who reject the 2013 Constitution and hate the FijiFirst Government.

They want us to go back to the past when we voted for our representatives in Parliament on racial lines to suit their narrow sectional interest and political agenda.

The question was asked after the Land Force Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Colonel Manoa Gadai, reassured us that there would be no repeat of the 2000 mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in the wake of the George Speight coup.

The only civilian coup was backed by elements of the former Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit of the RFMF.

The coups of 1987 and the 2006 takeover were conducted by the military.

Rabuka objective

Mr Nawaikula claimed that the coups were carried out by “a few soldiers acting for their selfish interest against the remainder of their colleagues and against the nation.”

He should start by asking his own parliamentary leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, what was the objective of his 1987 coups. In hindsight, it had a racist objective to give iTaukei political supremacy, meaning they would have exclusive hold on political leadership, never mind other races. A lot of iTaukei jumped on the bandwagon and truly believed it would happen. But they were disillusioned when it did not eventuate and regarded it as unfinished business.

When Speight led the 2000 coup many of these iTaukei had no problem joining him. They would accomplish what Mr Rabuka failed to complete in 1987.

That’s why Mr Rabuka’s SVT government failed miserably in its re-election bid in 1999 in partnership with Jai Ram Reddy’s NFP. Both the iTaukei and the Indo-Fijians voted with their boots because were not comfortable with Mr Rabuka.

Who was influencing Rabuka?

The next question is for Mr Nawaikula to ask Mr Rabuka whether it was his own decision to stage the coups or was he influenced by politicians of the then Alliance Party who were traditional chiefs. They were worried that an iTaukei commoner, Dr Timoci Bavadra, was Prime Minister in an Indo-Fijian dominated coalition government of the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party. It was seen at the time as nationalistic fervor, whereas in fact it was racism cloaked in nationalism – because what was wrong with Dr Bavadra, an iTaukei commoner? It was more like a fear of Indo-Fijian political dominance – which had played a crucial role in the drafting of the 1970 Constitution in London.

Who NFP should be defending

The NFP had pushed for one-person-one vote as we have it today in the 2013 Constitution.

But the NFP and the Alliance negotiators reached a halfway house and settled for a mix of national (all races vote) and communal (voting on racial lines) seats.

If you like, it was a precursor to the 2013 Constitution which has gone the full way. The NFP, of all political parties, should be working hard to defend the Constitution, rather than sending mixed signals in its rhetoric.

For Mr Nawaikula and company, it is evident that they have a fixed agenda. They try to create uncertainty about the future. The coup question is part of it.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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