Politics

PM: Rabuka Still Selfish Hateful Ethnic Supremacist

He told Parliament yesterday that the Leader of Opposition “has proved that he is still the man history will always remember him to be; a selfish short-sighted and hateful ethnic supremacist.”
23 Nov 2019 12:22
PM: Rabuka Still Selfish Hateful Ethnic Supremacist
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Sitiveni Rabuka has not changed.

He told Parliament yesterday that the Leader of Opposition “has proved that he is still the man history will always remember him to be; a selfish short-sighted and hateful ethnic supremacist.”

He made the scathing attack in his Right of Reply in the debate over the President’s address at the opening session of a new Parliament year.

‘Leading the Opposition down a blind alley’

Mr Bainimarama endorsed Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu’s attack on Mr Rabuka.

Mr Seruiratu called  Mr Rabuka’s response to the President’s speech arrogant, disrespectful and shameful. Mr Rabuka had described the speech as the most ungracious he had come across.

Mr Bainimarama said “for a former military man I can add that his answer was very insulting to say the least and full of self-importance. Herein lies the problem.”

He said Mr Rabuka was leading the rest of the members of the Opposition down a blind alley.

“They don’t know what the snake has in store for them. How do we know?” he said.

‘Newbies wanting to be wannabes’

“Very simple Honourable Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition has the gall to ask for my resignation, and the rats are following the merry piper, also calling for my resignation.

“But they are just a bunch of newbies wanting to be wannabes.

“They have no idea what I and the military government and now the FijiFirst Government have done to bring Fiji where we are today.”

Mr Bainimarama said his Governments had given free education “for our children and free education for their children.”

“But we all know Honourable Rabuka has no authority to lecture this chamber on ungraciousness – not when his party was turning their backs on the nation while in glaring contrast, the President was answering a noble call of service.

“That level of hypocrisy has rendered his indignation completely hollow. Their own sound and fury signify even less than nothing as both are undermined by their disrespect they have shown for the His Excellency from the day he was reappointed.”

Mr Bainimarama said: “Listening to the tirade from the Leader of the Opposition – and I say ‘leader’ with a lot of misgivings – I wasn’t angry. I was relieved. I was relieved to finally drop the charade of ‘statesmanship’ and expose the ugly nature of his true character.”

Mr Bainimarama asked: “What about his Excellency’s opening address struck a nerve with the Opposition?

“Was it the Fijian children for holding pride in their Constitution and living the ideals of true democracy?

“Was His Excellency’s denouncement of the backwards politics of division and disunity?

“Or maybe it was the strength of my Government’s record of achievement?

‘Where was their rage then?’

“But the bigger question, is why don’t we see any anger from the Opposition on real issues; issues that carry serious national significance?

“Where was their rage when Honourable Bulitavu demeaned Fijian women and defended their abusers? Where is their fury when members of their own party tell lies on social media, to the iTaukei landowners, and in this very chamber?

“And in the case of the Leader of the Opposition, where was his indignation in the face of the corruption, moral bankruptcy and demise of our National Bank, all of which defined his past government? We needed his anger then. We have no use for it now.

“The Opposition saves their outrage for children – and Fijians of all ages – for taking part in the hashtag Our Constitution challenge; a President who holds a positive vision for our future; and a people who refuse their notions of ethnic supremacy.

Mr Bainimarama called on SODELPA to be more than a one-issue party.

‘Don’t drag us back’

“End the tired fiction that we – the iTaukei – are somehow a marginalised people and that by treating our people equally we’re somehow leaving behind others behind. End your siege mentality. I am not asking for compromise with my Government, I’m asking you to compromise with reality.

“Don’t drag us back into the ugliness of the past. Don’t surrender the battle of real ideas before it even begins. If you don’t agree with something, try actually offering an alternative for once instead of stomping your feet and walking out in protest.

“We – the iTaukei people – hold a proud culture that grows prouder and stronger by the day. Open your eyes and look at your nation’s leadership. Do you think that I or any of the proud iTaukei leaders seated alongside me feel marginalised in our own country? It is lunacy to suggest so, Mister Speaker.”

He told the Opposition: “The only iTaukei who feel marginalised are you. You so desperately want to sit on this side of the chamber, and you’re willing to lie to our people to do so. You’re willing to tell them they are under their threat. When, in reality, it is only you, your power and your privilege which is under threat from my government.

Talanoa dialogue

Our culture – the iTaukei culture – is helping lead the world through great challenges by re-shaping the minds of global leaders, through initiatives like the Talanoa Dialogue which is spurring global action on climate change.

“We hold total and irrevocable ownership over nearly all of the land in the country, while other indigenous people are often contained in tiny reservations. Yet still, members of the Opposition act as if ILO Convention 169 on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples somehow applies to the iTaukei – as if we suffer in a country we lead, with land we own and with a constitution that forever protects our unique culture, customs, traditions and language.”

He told SODELPA to get rid of Mr Rabuka because “he will be your killer.”

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