Opinion

Nemani Delaibatiki: Gavoka Selective In Referring To Article

In my discussion with ordinary peo­ple in Ba I found it interest­ing that despite Gov­ernment assistance to help a group of landowners com­mercially develop their land, most in the group were suspicious because they had been brain­washed by some Opposition poli­ticians not to trust the Gov­ernment.
25 Nov 2019 14:14
Nemani Delaibatiki: Gavoka Selective In Referring To Article
Opposition member Viliame Gavoka

SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka is guilty of being selective in using a passage in one of my columns to back his claims in Parliament.

He is a perfect example of the point I was trying to make in my article.

He quoted a portion to suit his politi­cal agenda. He should have presented the whole article so that the House got the complete picture.

He referred to this paragraph and linked it to what he was trying to tell Parliament: “Speaking to people of all races from Ba to Lautoka, Nadi abnd Sigatoka, I discovered a dis­turbing resurgence of hatred and bitterness that was prevalent in the last two general elections.”

I went on to say “the feelings are generated by lies and misinforma­tion from certain politicians and social media, particularly in anti-Government rhetoric.” Mr Gavoka conveniently left that and other passages out.

He had attacked Government poli­cies and blamed them for the resur­gence of racial hatred and bitterness.

The article did not say that. But Mr Gavoka used the passage in question to back his argument. Sadly, politi­cians use this tactic quite often to il­lustrate a point and mislead the peo­ple.

They also use information that is not checked out and verified to ascertain their accuracy and truth.

When politicians employ these tac­tics, they are entering the ring of dirty politics.

This was the essence of my article on August 26, 2019 titled “Truth, The First Casualty of Dirty Politics.”

When politicians are desperate, have run out of good ideas, they resort to dirty politics to stay relevant for their voters who are watching them on live television.

Minister for Infrastructure, Trans­port, Disaster Management and Me­terological Services Jone Usamate stressed the importance of establish­ing the truth before MPs released in­formation in Parliament last week.

It is important because many people tend to believe what they hear from their representatives in Parliament.

MPs have a moral obligation to tell the truth. This responsibility is san­crosanct in the context of their high standing and Parliament as the high­est institution in the land.

In my discussion with ordinary peo­ple in Ba I found it interest­ing that despite Gov­ernment assistance to help a group of landowners com­mercially develop their land, most in the group were suspicious because they had been brain­washed by some Opposition poli­ticians not to trust the Gov­ernment.

I wrote: “One of the more level-head­ed landowners said: ‘I cannot un­derstand the mentality of some of us. This is a wonderful op­portunity, our first big break.

‘No other government has helped us like this. I have told my fellow landowners to put politics away and let’s focus on the opportu­nity before us.

‘The same old politics is still there. They think Gov­ernment is coming to take our land away.

‘We are going to lose our rights and the future of our culture is at stake.

‘The iTaukei are disadvantaged by the policies of this Government, some claim.

‘These are all false, all lies and these are the reasons why we the iTaukei are lagging behind.

‘We have to wake up and open our eyes or we will miss the boat’.”

The article continues: “The same sentiments were expressed in Lauto­ka, Nadi and Sigatoka.

RELIGION

“Religion has also been dragged into the ring.

“Some Hindus were suspicious of Government programmes because the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is a Muslim even though he attends a lot of Hindu religious events and reaches out to other religions and cultures.

“The anti-Muslim rhetoric is also coming from some iTaukei.

“These perceptions are based on unfounded claims, just pure lies and selective criticisms.

“When truth becomes the casu­alty of dirty politics our progress as a nation is in jeopardy.

“No genuine and sustainable democracy can survive if it is based on dirty politics.

“It will eventually lead to se­rious fragmentation.

“Racism, hatred, bitterness and division will take us down the slippery slope to po­litical turmoil, which we saw in 1987 and 2000.

OLD STYLE

“Lest we forget, in 1987 Siti­veni Rabuka led the country’s first military coup that over­threw the democratically-elect­ed Government of Dr Timoci Bavadra, a prominent medical doctor and high-ranking Minis­try of Health official.

“First, Mr Rabuka said the coup was to end street demonstrations by the racist iTaukei Movement protesting against an Indo-Fijian dominated Government.

“Later he said that the coup was to restore iTaukei political supremacy. Dr Bavadra was an iTaukei common­er from Viseisei, Vuda.

“It was therefore ironical and even hypocritical that the coup was said to have been staged for the sake of iTaukei interests.

“Was Dr Bavadra not an iTaukei? Or did he come from the wrong province or confederacy?

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and Mr Rabuka both represented Tovata. Dr Bavadra came from Burebasaga.

“Was the first coup designed to keep the leadership in Tovata hands?

“Is this the sort of politics that seems to be creeping back into SODELPA’s internal power play?

“No right-thinking Fijian wants to go back to this old-style politics.”

This article puts the situation in its proper context, contrary to the mes­sage Mr Gavoka was preaching in Par­liament.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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