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


Mixed Poll Feelings In Speight Stronghold

USP Pacific Journalism Online:
USP Pasifik Nius:
Have your say:

by Peter Emberson, Pacific Journalism Online (USP)

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Saturday morning in the Fiji capital Suva's airport town Nausori - a colourful and chaotic noisy scene with people thronging its streets in the buildup to this month's post-coup general election.

Chinese farmers and Fijian villagers from Tailevu and Rewa provinces - coup leader George Speight's stronghold - offload their produce from the hundreds of "carriers" with blue, yellow or green tarpaulins advertising Fiji Bitter beer.

Indo-Fijian shop owners take down wooden or iron shutters from their display windows for a another day of business.

Behind this picturesque postcard setting attracting shoppers and market vendors from the greater Suva area, there is mixture of different political views resonating from Nausori.

Many Fijian villagers - who travel to Nausori town from Rewa and Tailevu to sell their produce - called for the Fiji Government to see that development reached the rural areas too.

They want better education and scholarship for their children.

Other Fijians had different visions for Fiji after the vital election on August 25-September 1.

"I want all government officials at all levels to be indigenous Fijians," said one Fijian man, who sat proudly in front of his bundles of taro.

However, many Indo-Fijians asked to comment on changes they would like to see were reluctant to say anything.

Undercurrents of fear and a sense of hopelessness seemed to be mounting among Indo-Fijians in the area. Many of them shied away, saying they were either fearful or weary of the questions, fearing repercussions.

They still refused to be quoted, even after this reporter told them they would not be named.

However, an Indo-Fijian newspaper vendor who braved the fumes and dusty narrow streets of Nausori daily said: "Just look what happened to our last Labour Government … what do you want us to say?"

He would not comment further.

The Labour-led People's Coalition government was seized by Speight's gunmen in Parliament on May 19 last year and held hostage for 56 days.

Many people who were asked whether they had studied the contents of the party manifestos said they trusted the candidates and parties they were voting.

Many Fijian villagers, mostly from the Rewa and Tailevu area, were only too happy to comment, calling for national unity.

They said the current land issue and reconciliation could be resolved through the creation of a Christian state.

* The general election is from August 25-September 1.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: “COVID-19 Is Not Over”, Tedros Warns World Health Assembly

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told global health Ministers on Sunday that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time to lower the guard... More>>

UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>