Fiji politicians upset at PM's talk of intimidation
Fiji politicians in a spin over intimidation and 2000 coup talk.
The leader of the Fiji Labour Party says he will lay a complaint with police over comments by the Prime Minister about the 2000 coup.
In a speech, Rear Admiral Bainimarama said the riots and looting of the 2000 coup will not happen on his watch and he will not tolerate a climate of intimidation and fear.
As Koro Vaka'uta reports, the comments have been greeted with outrage from many political candidates.
FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry says Mr Bainimarama has been campaigning over the past couple of days, promising that he would protect the people and not let Suva burn. Mr Chaudhry says the prime minister is evoking memories to incite fear.
MAHENDRA CHAUDHRY: Clearly he's in breach of the Electoral Decree as well as the Public Order Act and this is what we've complained about. We've also questioned his sincerity in this because he was in charge in 2000 of the military when the coup occurred and the arms to secure the coup actually taken out of the army barracks.
Mr Chaudhry says while under Mr Bainimarama's watch, for months the military did nothing while people were terrorised and Suva burned.
MAHENDRA CHAUDHRY: "It's hollow because when you are supposed to do that and protect them you didn't do anything and now you are raising this as an election issue, trying to scare the people, playing politics of fear to get votes."
SODELPA's Mick Beddoes says he also finds it ironic that the Prime Minister has talked about not tolerating intimidation.
MICK BEDDOES: He's suggesting that intimidation and fear is coming from the opposition when he's the one that's been doing all the intimidating for the last eight years. No one else has. There is no security threat, other than the threat from him and the military establishment.
The leader of the National Federation Party, Biman Prasad, says Mr Bainimarama is staying quiet on real problems while stirring up others.
BIMAN PRASAD: Poor economic performance, rising level of poverty, high cost of living, unemployment, deteriorating health services. Mr Bainimarama and his General Secretary are scaring the voters away with abstract issues such as the common name, the secular state, such as security and law and order and this is part of the gimmick.
A Fijian lecturer in Pacific Studies from the University of Auckland, Steven Ratuva, says the statements seem to be all part of the political process.
STEVEN RATUVA: Well, a lot of it has to do with politicking. Because as the election draws near and nearer some political parties in order to be different, they try to draw on some of the extreme ideas, while some political parties are more moderate than others and hoping that by drawing extreme ideas they might be able to convince certain conservative members of certain ethnic groups.
Dr Ratuva says he hopes the authorities do not overreact to the various statements.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: