It is unbelievable that 88% of our people polled thought that Fiji is being ruled according to the will of the people (FT 19/11/2015). We don’t think our people are that ignorant.
We question the credibility of the WIN/Tebutt Poll because of a complete lack of information on how it was conducted. No details are given on the survey in the Fiji Times article. How many people were polled in Fiji or their social and educational background and how questions were worded?
A browse through the social media alone would show that thousands dislike this government and see through the farce of a democracy we have in Fiji. Ridicule, criticism and even outright condemnation and hate colour most of the remarks that come through.
There are numerous conclusive indicators of why Fiji is not democratic and is not being run according to the will of the people. To list a few:
1. 2014 general elections were clearly rigged
2. The imposed 2013 constitution does not reflect the will of the people. The UN Council on Human Rights has recommended Fiji set up a commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the constitution:
• reflect the will of the people
• ensure separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary
• repeal draconian decrees that violate the freedoms and rights of the people
3. Several of these decrees that violate core ILO Conventions on the rights of workers and trade unions have also been condemned by the ILO and are currently the subject of a dispute that may result in an ILO Inquiry if the FF government fails to comply
4. The powers and jurisdiction of the Judiciary have been seriously curtailed and its independence is in question
5. Parliament has been rendered a sham with numerous restrictions placed on the Opposition that restrain freedom of expression and speech; the Speaker has displayed blatant bias towards the government in her conduct of the business of the House
6. Appointments to Constitutional Offices are made, not by an independent body, but the Prime Minister who is the chair of the Commission.
7. The army’s intrusion into civilian affairs is well recorded and was again brought home with the resignation last week of Police Commissioner Groenewald and his replacement by the RFMF Land Force Commander Col. Sitiveni Qiliho.
8. There is an alarming absence of transparency and accountability in the government’s handling of public funds. This has been underscored in reports of the Auditor General for the past 9 years highlighting millions of dollars in missing funds, payments made without proper documents and acquitals, tenders issued without proper procedures being followed etc.
9. Official corruption reached endemic levels in the past 6 years. Prime Minister and Attorney General moved the ministerial payroll from the Treasury to a private accounting firm with close links to the Attorney General. Both are reported to have drawn salaries through this firm substantially in excess of their entitlements between 2010 and 2013, running into millions of dollars.
Acquitals for these payments have not been produced by the PM’s Office to the Finance Ministry, the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee despite repeated requests.
This is just a short list but it is enough to indicate that by no standards can Fiji be considered either democratic or being governed in accordance with the will of the people.