Great Joint Statement from SODELPA Leaders!

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SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa today issued a joint statement in response to allegations against the party made by Prime Minister Bainimarama at the commissioning of the Government vessel MV Cagivou.

The SODELPA leaders said the Prime Minister’s utterances are prime examples of the hypocrisy of his leadership and government. The Leaders said his threats are becoming more pronounced and aggressive and have a similar tone to those he made during the lead up to the 2006 coup he launched against a democratically elected government.

According to Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu the difference this time is that Government strategy is orchestrated by QORVIS, the US based PR Company that is paid $1 million a year from taxpayer’s funds. The Fiji Sun is also a key strategic player in the Government’s plans, along with other organizations. The Fiji First government is using them to portray Mr. Bainimarama’s military take-over not as a coup but as some sort of reformist initiative. That approach is a fraud on the nation.

Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu remind the government that a coup is a coup and treason is treason.

The SODELPA leaders said the level of the Prime Minister’s hypocrisy is so excessive, it is important to respond to each of his misrepresentations.

PM: Sedition: He is reported to have said quote ‘if you encourage sedition, you are committing an offence’ unquote. 
SODELPA: In 2006 Frank Bainimarama was himself on the verge of being arrested and charged with sedition. To escape the consequences of this he committed treason and carried out his coup. Now he warns the citizens of Fiji not to break the law, but refuses to answer for his own lawless behaviour.

PM: Violence: He is reported to have said quote ‘if you urge violence against anyone in Fiji, you commit a serious offence’ 
SODELPA: Under Frank Bainimarama’s leadership following the 2000 and 2006 coups there have been deaths and brutal murders of civilians and soldiers as well as human rights violations against innocent citizens. He is warning against anyone urging violence. But he led a regime that survived on violence, threats and repression. He has many questions to answer himself about specific acts of violence and torment. He has attempted to protect himself from fronting up to courts of law to answer for his role.

PM: The Law: He is reported to have said quote ‘the hand of the law is very long and rest assured the authorities in Fiji will not rest until you are bought to justice’ unquote
SODELPA Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu agree totally with Prime Minister Bainimarama. The arm of the law is indeed very long. This is what keeps him awake at night. While he is threatening other citizens with being brought to justice, he hides behind immunity provisions in Chapter 10 page 147 of the constitution. The SODELPA leaders accuse Prime Minister Bainimarama of lacking integrity and the moral courage to do as he expects all others to do. When it comes to ‘equality under the law’, he exempts himself. But Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu reiterate that the arm of the law is very long. “We want to assure everyone that in this globalised day and age, it will also reach the Prime Minister and all his treasonous accomplices. They will have to face up to the serious wrongs they have committed.”

PM: Dividing Fiji: The Prime Minister urges people not to be fooled by those trying to divide Fiji and asks citizens to report any illegal activity to the Police. He says if people know anyone who is involved, they should tell them they risk spending many years in jail.
SODELPA: This kind of fear mongering and urging family and friends to spy and report on each other is typical of the tactics of Adolf Hitler and his Gestapo and Josef Stalin and his KGB in imposing control on their people. This thinking by the Prime Minister is a confirmation of his desire to deny people their rights to personal liberty, freedom from degrading treatment, freedom of speech, expression and publication as outlined in the Bill of Rights in his 2013 constitution. By implementing such a policy he would be dividing the people to serve his own ends.

PM: Enemies: He is reported to have said quote ‘ They want to impose their will on everyone else, they are enemies of the state, and enemies of the Fijian people, enemies of Investment, enemies of modern Fiji, they are enemies of prosperity for all, and we are going to track them down and bring them to justice’ unquote
SODELPA: The prime imposition on our people is what was done in 2006 by Prime Minister Bainimarama. It continues to the present. The real enemies of the state are those who broke their sworn oaths to defend us, and instead turned their weapons on us. The real enemies of investment are the officials who indulge in favouritism, nepotism and corruption to support favoured investors over others; the real enemies of modern Fiji are officials who are aware of the wrongs and injustices being done to the people and the country but remain silent out of fear; the real enemies of our prosperity are the Prime Minister and Finance Minister who, in their arrogance, think it is acceptable to spend $100 million of taxpayers money without proper records and documentation. They apparently believe this is as transparent and accountable as they need be.

PM: Attack on Democracy: He is reported to have said quote ‘Attacks on democracy will not be tolerated, the lives of Fijians could only be improved via working together as a nation and one Fiji. Unquote
SODELPA: It is fitting that our final response is in relation to his claims of attacks on our democracy. He admits that the lives and future well-being of all our people can only be improved via working together. This is the policy approach SODELPA has repeatedly put to the Fiji First government since the opening of parliament in October 2014. The Prime Minister himself has repeatedly rejected overtures from SODELPA and the National Federation Party for an inclusive collaborative approach. The recent offer by Ratu Naiqama of an olive branch to find a solution to the current issues in Ra, Ba and Nadroga is another example in that he says he wants to do this, but is incapable of it. His preference as is to continue to operate as he has done since 2006. He sees Parliament as a continuation of his dictatorship while it provides a façade of democracy that does not exist.

PM: Elected Government by the people: He is reported to have said quote ‘the said Government was chosen by the Fijian people in the elections last year and this made it the only lawful government, and to challenge it is to defy the will of the Fijian people. It is an attack on democracy and it will not be tolerated’ unquote
SODELPA: This is the ‘mother of all hypocritical remarks’ made by the Prime Minister. It demonstrates the level of dysfunctionality in his thinking and the unreality of the world he occupies. In 2006 the people elected the SDL government, so it was the lawfully elected government of the people. And yet he attacked it illegally with military force. But he is afraid to subject himself to the law for his actions.

Our decision to contest the 2014 general elections under the imposed 2013 constitution was never an endorsement of it and we expressed these views in a signed letter to the President after we were sworn in. We decided that contesting the elections was an important first step away from military dictatorship which had prevailed for eight years, and that would help us begin our return to accountable and transparent governance.

There is still a long way to go. Democratic freedom does not come easily. Many of us have paid and are still paying a very high price for the journey we have embarked on. There will be many more hurdles to overcome before we can achieve true democracy. We in SODELPA are committed to achieving this.

For now, we call on all law-abiding citizens, not to be moved from doing what is right and just. Speak out as loudly as you can about all of the wrongs this government and QORVIS are sweeping under the carpet.

We do not condone or support any acts of violence against anyone. We support everyone’s right to life and right to personal liberty as well as freedom from cruel and degrading treatment. We stand for all the other rights that protect our citizens. We call on the Prime Minister to stop making his outrageous allegations and let the Police do the job they are constitutionally obliged to do. He should instead concentrate on fixing our failing economy and sugar industry.

Authourised by:

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu President, Social Liberal Democratic Party 
Ro Teimumu Kepa
Leader of the Opposition
Social Liberal Democratic Party

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