1 Jul 2013

Fiji's Rabuka hints at running on NFP ticket

6:10 pm on 1 July 2013

Fiji's first coup-maker and a former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, has hinted at running for election next year on the National Federation Party ticket.

The NFP last worked with Mr Rabuka in 1999 when it formed a coalition with his SVT party and subsequently lost all its seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr Rabuka says political parties need to think strategically not tactically and work towards a better Fiji rather just wins at the polls next year.

He was giving his views on the course ahead for Fiji at the Otago University Foreign Policy School at the weekend and afterwards spoke to Sally Round.

SITIVENI RABUKA: The only party that I can logically join at the moment is the National Federation Party. They are the ones that worked with me in 1999. Qarase doesn't want to work with me. Chaudhry, I know, doesn't want to work with me. But if those two pull or push for the Federation Party not to field me as a candidate I cannot help it out, then I'm out.

SALLY ROUND: And they have already asked you to join?

RABUKA: No, they haven't. Nobody has asked me at the moment. I've only had word that my chief, Tui Cakau, may want me to stand in our province, but that depends on what party I'll go with.

ROUND: As an independent?

RABUKA: Well, I can stand as independent. That might be the more effective way of me avoiding the anger of the other people and just standing on my own. I'm encouraging people to look at the basic issues - will your party or group of parties support what you feel Fiji should be governed by, the principles and the character of the nation, what you want to promote. If people are standing on that platform why not support them? If not, then you fight the way you think you want to run the government after.

ROUND: And what do you think of the chances for this United Front for a Democratic Fiji?

RABUKA: I think they have a very good chance, whatever system may be adopted, as long as it's subject to the audit of the political parties. The political parties should now be part of the education, how people are going to be educated to work the electoral provisions of the new constitution.

ROUND: You've also talked about how you felt the interim government was vote-buying and spoon-feeding the people. Can you expand on that?

RABUKA: Well, we all do it. As the elected government we listen to the people - what is their requirement, what is their need in certain areas - and we do those developments. But not to the extent where you go and build personal homes. You don't do that. That is against the dignity of the person. But a lot of people don't see it as that. They say, 'Thank you. I've got a new home.' I think the future people of Fiji, they could be very weak, particularly indigenous males who will not have the dignity to look after their wives and families. A nation of parasites. Particularly the Fijian race will be a race of parasites waiting for everything to be given to them.