Fiji's young people ready lead in country's future
A panellist at a discussion on the 26th anniversary of the first coup in Fiji says young people have shown their willingness to take responsibility for the country's future.
A panellist at a discussion on the 26th anniversary of the first coup in Fiji says the young people who converged at the event have shown their willingness to take responsibility for the country's future.
Hundreds of students took part in the panel discussion at the University of the South Pacific campus in Suva last week, which involved Fiji's first coup maker, Sitiveni Rabuka.
A panellist - the Coordinator of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali - told Beverley Tse the discussions centred around the first coup and the ramifications of it.
SHAMIMA ALI: It is also about leadership, about young people being leaders. But also the kind of leadership we have in the country at the moment. It was also about accountability, the total lack of accountability and transparency in the present regime.
BEVERLEY TSE: In terms of the call for better leadership, was that supported by the students?
SA: Yes, there was a very able young man, who was a student and student leader. And he spoke very passionately about leadership and particularly leadership amongst the young people. And I believe the way the young people spoke, they really believe they have a role to play. And, to me, the conversations were about, really, that they are seeking a new kind of leadership that is more all-embracing and not wanting to be the same old same old all over again. But there was also that thinking coming through that we need to settle things from the past. Who were the people who were behind the coup? Who are the people now? Are they still around? And if they're still around there's something intrinsically wrong when these people continue on.
BT: So what sort of leadership are these students wanting?
SA: Well, I think definitely they want more accountability. I talk about human rights, and that seems to have gone down well - that policies, legislation, things like that, the foundation has to be based on human rights and so on, and that seemed to resonate with them. But I think this is the beginning of things to come. But definitely there is a feeling that they want to participate. They're looking amongst themselves and also looking to us to provide that leadership or that mentoring for their participation.
BT: What were some of the questions that were raised by the students? Was there a consensus about what they were concerned about?
SA: Quite a few questions were asked of the 1987 coup leader, particularly about his involvement and for him to name the people who were with him and behind him and so on. And he talked a lot about asking for forgiveness, but there was also a stand-off thinking there, that actually we're not going to forgive you unless you are willing to come clean. There are also questions around the military - how powerful was it?
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