COUP No.1 in 1987 took place just as I was finishing university. So my career started with a government of questionable credibility.
It did not take long for me to realise that the old adage “if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword” was going to be so true for Fiji. Thus my reason for leaving Fiji’s shores after the 2000 coup.
Enough was enough. But I have never stopped caring.
All the talk about democracy and restoration of constitutional rule to me is practically useless. Have you heard of the term “toothless tiger”? Well, that is how powerful democracy or a democratic constitution is.
We have to be stupid not to have learnt about this in the Fiji context following events of the last 22 years as May 14 approaches.
Fiji’s population is too small for a legitimate democratic process to work. The number of people needed to be influenced into any way of thinking is too small.
The reason democracy works in Australia, USA, and India, for example, is:
- The population is too large for any on person or groups of persons to negatively or conveniently influence; and
- There are two levels of governence in these countries, Federal and State.
In Fiji, any loudmouth can stand up to speak and be heard by everybody because we are living in such a confined space. In larger countries, people do not have the time to listen to everybody’s rubbish.
We are at an unfortunate point in our country where trying to rejuvinate a dead constitution and a sick democracy is like giving hope of life to a cancer sufferer.
In medical circles we would call this the point of palliative care where heroism is not encouraged.
Australia and New Zealand, and even the UN, are pushing Fiji to return to democracy, but in truth, we never had a democracy the way it is known in the Western world.
The question is, what form of democracy does the rest of the world want to see in Fiji? And, more importantly, who is going to create that sort of utopia in Fiji?
The truth is, try as much as we may, there will never be democracy in this country.
Even if we did enforce a constitution that appears balanced in favour of all ethnic groups at gunpoint, will this be called legitimate, and what happens when there is a change of guard? (Messers Bainimarama et al have yet to be granted boon of eternity).
I like the word compromise, because that is the real solution to every problem everywhere that is truly permenant. I for one don’t like to talk in terms of problems, but in terms of solution.
I would like readers to carefully consider what I am proposing. If this does not look promising, shelve it, but don’t shun it.
If you have any brighter ones, you are welcome to have your turn first, but please have keep my suggestions in reserve:
- First and immediate problem is economic depression. In simple terms, we need mouths to be fed. Some point out that we import most of our food. The reason for this is we are too lazy to grow our own. Fiji has such a blessed climate that you don’t need to sow. Just throw your seeds and they will grow. Don’t argue the land angle, because for a population of barely three-quarters of a million and there is still plenty land.
My argument is that if you can justify stealing to feed yourself, which we will shortly, if not already , be resorting to. Why can’t you just till the land, regardless of who it belongs to? Just grow so much that there is a glut of food. Once there is abundance of food, we can probably think more clearly.
- Two, for any country we need to have some sort of an operating authority. At present, there is an illegitimate government which is facing reprimand from external powers to be. This is where the magic of compromise or bargaining appears to be most appropriate.
I think that if Australia, NZ and the UN are serious about helping Fji, they should stop forcing the Commodore’s hand at restoring democracy.
In exchange to continued and even enhanced aid/assistance, they should ask for a hand in putting an interim government in place comprising of credible individuals nominated jointly by Australia, NZ and UN.
There are plenty of decent, capable, qualified current and former Fiji nationals that I known who will put their lives on line for Fiji.
Mr Amraiya Naidu for instance, Mr Wadan Narsey and Prof Brij Lal, to name a few.
I think Mr Bainimarama is a reasonable man, it being a different issue that he sometimes appears to have trouble conveying his thoughts into words, much the same as most of my Fijian friends, often at the risk of sounding arrogant at the best and stupid at the worst.
One thing I have learnt from my Fijian friends is what can be achieved by winning their confidence, cannot be done by threatening them.
These suggestions appear so simple that I know I risk sounding hopelessly moronic, but read it over a few times and have a long think.
I welcome any comments and criticisms, but please, think in terms of solutions and not problems.
- The views expressed in this article do not not necessarily represent the views of Fiji Uncensored.