TWO of Fiji’s opposition politicians have told Radio Australia they don’t believe the commitment made by military regime to allow a return to democratic rule in 2014.
President Ratu Josefa Iloilo had promised elections in September 2014 when he scrapped the country’s constitution on Good Friday.
Fiji’s international neighbours have criticised that date, arguing instead for elections to be held this year.
But the two politicians, Ted Young of the Soqosoqo Duvata ni Lewenivanua Party, and Pramod Rae of the National Federation Party, said they did not believe Voreqe Bainimarama’s commitment to elections in 2014.
The two are in Australia talking to academics and politicians, and were guest speakers at the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement’s march and rally on Sunday.
While Young said there had been no physical beatings or physical harassment by soldiers so far, Rae said psychological intimidation was a regular occurrence.
“Mental torture, psychological intimidation is just as bad or even worse [than physical intimidation],” Rae said. “We receive calls, telephone calls on a regular basis from senior military officers telling us they’re unhappy about what we’re saying.
“So what I’m more concerned with is the feeling I get when I receive these calls as to what the caller is feeling. Like some of these senior military officers appear to be really frightened of what might happen in Fiji if people like us continue to criticise the performance of the interim regime.”
Young said no one Fiji believed that Bainimarama would keep to his promise and have elections in 2014, a view Rae echoed.
“As to the September 2014 date, well it was Ratu Josef Iloilo himself who in written communication to us earlier on had said March 2009,” Rae said.
“Bainimarama several times said March 2009. That didn’t happen. Now they say September 2014. We are under no illusions that it will happen in September 2014.
Rae said they were afraid that by the time elections were called, the regime would have already decreed that parties like SDL and NFP were ineligible to participate.
“Because this is specifically provided for in the charter. There are provisions there to penalise political parties like ours who do not go along with the values that they are trying to create.
“They’re trying to systematically and culturally re-engineer Fiji society. And the society that they’re trying to create they obviously see no place for political parties like Mr Qarase’s SDL, Mr Young’s SDL or our NFP,” Rae said. – fiji uncensored