World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


'The facade of democracy'

Commentary: 'The facade of democracy'

By Pat Craddock © USP Journalism Programme

SUVA: There will soon be an appointed new interim government to replace the elected one of Mahendra Chaudhry. Terrorist leader George Speight has suggested names for the new administration. The army has put out another list. Undoubtedly there will be a compromise.

A well-known name on George Speight's list is Professor Asesela Ravuvu, director of Pacific studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva

Professor Ravuvu, is the author of "The Facade of Democracy - Fijian struggles for political control 1830-1987" with chapters on the influence of Europeans and Indians; the 1987 army coup; issues of equality and democracy and comments on overseas viewpoints.

The following quotes from the book give a flavour of its content:

* " Fijians are peace loving and this quality has made it possible for other races to live with them....'

* "The lack of true commitment of the Indian community to Fiji is evident and well known to Fijians."

* " The Fijians also felt culturally threatened when the authority and role of the chiefs was challenged. The chiefs and the people were one."

Talking about the lead up to the 1987 coup by Sitiveni Rabuka, the author writes:

* "These calls for multiracialism fell largely on deaf ears. Greed and hunger for power blinded the vision of Indian political leaders and the direction was set to topple the predominantly Fijian backed Alliance government of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. "

Prof Ravuvu's vision of the 1997 elections could be seen as a Cassandra prophecy for what has happened in the last few weeks. He writes:

* "To the Fijians, the Coalition victory in the 1987 elections seemed like a clever stunt performed with strings, mirrors and "democracy".

Professor Ravuvu has obviously been thinking about the future of his country and he too has doubts on the part played by the chiefs.

In an interview with USP journalism student Susana Bulewa (May 28) on Pacific Journalism Online, the professor said the majority of the Fijian chiefs no longer had the power to influence their people:

"It is high time that the people are given back the flexibility and power to select and install their leaders who will be accountable to them...."

If Prof Ravuvu is correct, a question that must arise for the future of Fiji is why anyone should even bother writing another constitution. That last one was overthrown through terrorist action, the previous one was overthrown by the army.

Who in this country will respect yet another constitution when they seem to be built to be destroyed?

It took the whole Fiji army to do what it did in 1987. Thirteen years later it only took a mere civilian and six other men.

Prof Ravuvu sees the chiefly system in trouble, so who will be in control when the army goes back to barracks.

When and if the former Prime Minister and the other 30 hostages emerge pale-faced but safe from the cells of Parliament, it will only be a short time before they talk loud and often to a waiting world media.

I am not sure that guns and threats can silence these and other voices. It looks like being a long, dark and also a noisy night for Fiji.

* Patrick Craddock is senior audio producer of the Media Centre and associate lecturer in journalism. The views in this commentary are those of the author, not the institution.

+++niuswire

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news