4 Dec 2003

Academic says Fiji needs new political leadership

5:17 pm on 4 December 2003

A Fiji church academic says the country needs new political leadership if it is to achieve national reconciliation between the two races.

Dr Russell Daye of the Pacific Theological College told a public lecture in Suva yesterday that the current political leaders are too polarised racially to solve the nation's problems.

Dr Daye says Fiji needs a strong multi-racial party to run the country.

"This country needs a strong party that is representative in a multi-racial way, representative in a multi-religious way, representative of different classes of people economically and culturally. And it's going to need courageous leaders who refuse to be tempted by the power that comes from engaging in, you know, negative characterisation of the other."

Dr Daye says the Prime Minister and the Labour Party leader have done little to achieve reconciliation since the coups of 1987 and 2000.

He says they have become trapped in party politics and moves towards reconciliation would alienate their own constituencies.

He says reconciliation is based on truth telling, apology, the claiming of responsibility, building and healing.