Tag Archive | Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi

Final Petition of William R Marshall

The Petition of the regime’s former Justice of Appeal has kept lawyers amused all day.

The only version currently online is in reverse order. If anyone has a copy in natural order, please send it through via Comments and it will be posted on this blog.

God bless Fiji

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Terror and threats as Fiji suffers under the hand of a tyrant

With thanks to Raw Fiji News for pointing out this article in The Times (the original one, based in London).  Under this illegitimate regime, Fiji makes the international headlines for all the wrong reasons.  

Liz Jamieson in Suva – The attacks began a couple of weeks ago. While families slept petrol bombs were thrown through their windows and cars were set on fire. This week an attempt was made to set the offices of a prominent trade unionist on fire while his employees worked inside.

The message was clear to the victims, who include a newspaper editor, a lawyer and a former army colonel: stop speaking out against the regime.

“We are afraid for our lives,” one of the victims, who would not be named, told The Times. ‘My wife and I don’t sleep at night, we are always wondering when the next bomb will come or when they will come for us with their guns. I have been imprisoned and beaten all over my body and face; they told me that the next time they come for me my wife can pick up my body from the morgue.”

This is not Zimbabwe or Burma. This is Fiji, the tourist jewel of the South Pacific and, until recently, the most sophisticated of the island nations in this region.

It is still one of the most popular tourist destinations for Australians, New Zealanders and Britons. Each day tourists are taken by shuttle bus from Nadi airport to their luxury resorts, where they snorkel, swim and play golf, sheltered behind the bougainvillea from the shadows that haunt the people.

Since 2006, when Fiji endured its fourth coup in 20 years, the country has been ruled by a military regime that has suppressed dissent through detention and torture while the coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has refused to hold elections.

A week ago the regime took a step towards total dictatorship. After a ruling by the Appeals Court on April 9 that Mr Bainimarama had been appointed Prime Minister illegally under the 1997 Constitution, the ailing 89-year-old President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, acting after consultation with Mr Bainimarama, revoked the Constitution, sacked the judiciary and reappointed Commodore Bainimarama as premier for a minimum term of five years.

A state of emergency was declared, police were placed in every newspaper and television newsroom to censor stories and a series of draconian decrees were published, including a ban on gatherings of more than three people.

All constitutional office holders, including the Supervisor of Elections, the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, were replaced by people of the regime’s choosing.

In the past week journalists have been jailed along with the President of the Law Society, who organised a protest outside the Supreme Court over the sacking of judges.

All foreign media was ejected and radio transmitters from Australia and New Zealand, which were the only link that Fiji had to news from the outside world, have been shut.

Fiji is isolated and its people are left unprotected and at the hands of its increasingly unpredictable dictator.

“Please don’t call him a dictator,” an adviser to Laisenia Qarase, the former Prime Minister, said. “This man is a terrorist. Everyone is scared; no one knows who will be the next to be taken away.”

Fiji presents an appearance of calm. The streets of the capital Suva are quiet, the people go about their daily lives as normal but there is an atmosphere of foreboding.

Speaking in a whisper behind a closed door while a soldier stalked through the offices of her organisation, a human rights worker said: “They are terrifying people into silence. We are getting stories from the countryside that they are going into the villages with guns and marching the youths away at gunpoint but no one can do anything.

“The ordinary people now have no recourse to justice. There are no courts, they have no voice. Everyone feels completely helpless.”

Asked if she was scared, she said: “Not for me. But I have got a phone call reminding me they know where my daughter goes to school.”

Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, the Vice-President for the Government of Mr Qarase, said: “Once the Prime Minister gets something into his mind, no amount of sane advice will move him. This regime has no integrity or good faith but they now have total power.”

When Mr Bainimarama came into power in 2006 he seemed to be a force for good but support for an uprising even among the educated elite is growing.

“No one knows what will happen next,” said Graham Leung, a former Law Society president. “Don’t assume that because the Fijians are quiet on the surface they are celebrating, because they are not.

“We are dealing with a situation that is dynamic and resistant and may evolve into something that is violent.”

He added: “We can’t expect outside help. Democracy will have to be fought for and won here.”

A source with close links to former senior officers, said: “Senior members of the military have made it clear that enough is enough. They think this time he’s gone too far.”

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God bless Fiji

Hail President Madraiwiwi!

In all the hoo-har since Ratu Iloilo ‘suspended’ the Constitution (a deed whose legitimacy / legality is yet to be proven) and illegal regime’s various decrees, there is one outstanding action that deserves more attention. 

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase proved, in the Court of Appeal, that the 2006 coup was unconstitutional, and that all subsequent actions by Vore and his thug government have no legitimacy under the Constitution. 

PM Qarase, who never resigned his position, let the Rule of Law speak for him and his actions.  The Rule of Law found our PM was right and Vore was wrong.  Like him or not, the PM’s actions speak for themselves.  He remains law-abiding, legitimate and our true leader. 

Now, I am no Constitutional expert, but I understand that our 1997 Constitution is written in such a way that it cannot be abrogated or changed except through Parliament.  In layman’s terms, it is deliberately formulated to be “coup proof”.  So the erstwhile President’s suspension of the Constitution holds no water. 

Ratu Iloilo is variously described as being incapacitated.  As such, it could be argued that his status as President is reasonably compromised, and has been for some time.  I don’t know if capacity of the President is necessarily an explicit prerequisite in our Constitution.  But in the same way that the Courts use international (Commonwealth) precedents to interpret our laws, perhaps capacity is a prerequisite elsewhere and could similarly be argued / interpreted as a prerequisite here in Fiji. 

Since the High Court has found that the 2006 coup is unconstitutional, similarly their unseating of our Vice President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, is illegitimate. 

Logically –

  • with Ratu Iloilo’s resignation (with or without mental capacity as a contributing factor),
  • and the 2006 coup declared unconstitutional
  • and the Constitution being coup-d’etat proof,

Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi is therefore now our legitimate President of Fiji. 

Thank you Lord for your humble servant and our Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase and his active dedication to the Rule of Law. 

God bless and keep our President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

God bless Fiji

Leadership Vacuum

28 months into Bainimarama’s illegal regime, the people of Fiji remain in want of a leadership figure to give focus to our frustration with the status quo, and guide us in venting that frustration into a positive outcome.  Nelson Mandela showed the South African population just how far he was willing to go to walk the walk for enduring peace.  Mahatma Gandhi both told and showed India and the world that true power is achieved only through non-violence.  Winston Churchill harnessed British pluck and community spirit to bring his people through ‘their finest hour’.  

I fear that, without a leader who is willing to raise his or her head above the fray, without a leader who is willing to speak to us and for us, the very real frustration that people are feeling at the way we are being governed will boil over into chaos and, inevitably, death.  We need organised rebellion against this regime.  The closest we have so far is the excellent Solivakasama Worldwide Movement which collected $10,000 for the Flood Appeal, which helped get Vilisi Nadaku in touch with the heroic Jon Apted, and out of custody.  But we need more.  

We need a leader with a plan to get us back to elections.  We need a leader who will speak at rallies, to Villages, to the Chiefs, to the people.  We need someone we are prepared to stand behind, to march with, to rebel with.  

In a worst case scenario (not that we aren’t already IN a worst case scenario), if rebellion were to break out WITHOUT such a leader, history tells us that we can expect rioting, more military crackdowns, further flourishing of organised crime, outbreaks of chaos and civil unrest – basically a path to civil war.  

Our best solution is a path back to free and fresh elections (and decisive punishments for this regime).  We need a leader who can harness our inevitable rebellion to turn our restlessness into a positive, peaceful, non-violent march towards change and democracy.  Attar Singh, Kenneth Zinck, Mick Beddoes and others employ an admirable use of public jibes to keep the regime on the back foot.  Sharon Rolls Bhagwan, the Fiji Women’s Rights ladies and the women’s movement make excellent ambassadors for peace.  Lord bless our media for the vital part they play as our last bastion for democracy.  But each of these is not enough.  

I hope you will forgive my presumptuousness, but PM Qarase and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi – we need you to lead.  The nation NEEDS you.  The alternative, without your leadership, is too grim to bear.

God bless Fiji