As we celebrate yet another Diwali – the Festival of Light as it is widely known – let us reflect on what lies ahead of us as a people.
There are those who want us to believe now that elections have been held and we have a parliament, that things will improve. That, unfortunately, would be whimsical thinking. The fact remains that little will change for as long as the repressive decrees of the totalitarian regime remain in force, overriding the freedoms and liberties (supposedly) “guaranteed” under the (2013) constitution unilaterally imposed on our people.
The constitution is an anathema to democratic norms and accountable governance. In fact, it is an authoritarian instrument crafted to continue the dictatorship under the pretence of democratic governance.
The election itself is tarred with allegations of vote rigging and manipulation of the results posted on the National Results Tally via the protocol of results. The flagrant disregard by the elections officials of the provisions of the electoral decree at hundreds of polling stations throughout the country, as reported by polling agents of opposition political parties, was too serious to be overlooked as minor infringements not likely to alter the results. .
Curiously, the regime’s Fiji First Party did not have polling agents at any of the polling stations visited by us, it being said by many observers that the polling officials were indeed their agents!
Not surprisingly, the first post-election official act of the Bainimarama government was to approve huge pay increases for themselves as Cabinet ministers, while leaving the national minimum wage at $2 per hour or $80 per week for the ordinary people they had pledged to extricate from the poverty trap.
The base pay of the prime minister now is $328,750 or $901 per day (including week-ends and public holidays). Compare this with someone on minimum wage whose daily wage would be a measly $16.
Well someday, somehow we may be able to grasp the intricacies that lie behind FF’s promise of equal citizenry!
Getting to understand democracy the Fiji First (FF) way, one just needs to refer to the Fiji Sun issue of Friday October 17 where our enlightened prime minister laid down the rule that those who voted for an opposition member of parliament should not expect development assistance from our otherwise very “inclusive” government.
In fairness to him, he was only repeating a maxim he had already laid down in 2012 to the villagers of Vitogo and Naviyago. So the fundamentals of democracy FF style remain the same – elections or no elections!
And this is how it may likely be for the next four years. So brace yourselves.
Inspite of it all, have a Happy Diwali!
PS: Recommended week-end reading- Auditor General’s Reports 2007-2013