The Fiji Labour Party abhors and strongly condemns the campaign of fear Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is now embarking on days before the start of voting
He is deliberately evoking memories of the racial violence and backlash in 2000 to instill fear in the minds of the Indian community in Fiji.
“It is a shameless and irresponsible use of communal fears and insecurity by a man who is desperate to cling to power, “ said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
His statements (as reported in the Fiji Sun) in Labasa and at Suva last night stand in breach of the Public Order Act and the Electoral Decree and must be investigated by the Police.
Mr. Bainimarama must take responsibility for the violence and mayhem that erupted during and after the 2000 coup, said Mr Chaudhry.
“The arms to execute the coup were ‘smuggled’ from the Queen Elizabeth Barracks which was under his watch as Commander RFMF. Indeed, an Army inquiry into the events of 2000 had established that Bainimarama had previous knowledge of the coup. He had taken no precautions to prevent it.
His hollow assurances now to the Indian community to provide them security and protection in case there is civil strife after the elections, provide little comfort to a community which has suffered the brunt of two racist coups,” said Mr Chaudhry.
“I ask him: “Where was he, the Army and Police in 2000 when Suva was burning, the residents of Munaniweni and Dawasamu were being terrorized – looted, beaten up , raped and their houses burnt- by thugs of George Speight.
“Where were the Army and the Police when families in Dreketi were hiding night after night in ditches in fear of molestation by extremists,” said Mr Chaudhry.
For months Indians in these remote rural areas were under threat, subjected to gross violence and thuggery. Yet neither the Police nor the Army provided any protection to them.
“Future administrations may want to consider that the best way to provide security to all communities in Fiji, would be to balance the racial composition of our military and ensure responsible leadership in the Army,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Mr Chaudhry appealed to voters not to be intimidated by anyone but to vote without fear for whoever they wished.