Vote Buying Continues
Issue No: 1002 4 August 2001
Regime's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has continued to buy political support using taxpayers money.
This time, the media reveals that thousands of dollars worth of rugby jerseys and sports equipment have been ordered by the Prime Minister's office for distribution to ethnic Fijians.
Earlier this year, the Qarase regime had raised duty on sports equipment. This made sports equipment out of reach of ordinary citizens.
Rugby is a popular sport amongst the ethnic Fijian males. National rugby players are seen as somewhat of cult heros.
Meanwhile Tupeni Baba, the leader of the renegade New Labour Unity Party has been using national rugby legend Waisele Serevi for his campaign. The Fiji Rugby Union has hit out at the political use of rugby by Baba and Serevi. It has also banned the Fiji TV from coverage of any rugby event in the country for the company's refusal to stop playing Baba's advertisements with Serevi in it. The Union claims that the advertisements violate the advertising contract which the Union has with its sponsors. Serevi appears in the ads with a Vodofone sponsored Fiji Rugby jersey. The message relayed is that the British multinational corporation Vodofone is also supporting Baba's party.