Claims Fiji village misled by Regime over elections
The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the government is attempting to defraud villages into supporting a strategy not to hold elections next year.
The Fiji political grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, says the Bainimarama regime is attempting to defraud villages into supporting a strategy not to hold elections next year.
The UFDF's Mick Beddoes told Don Wiseman that the people of Nasau village in Koro were recently duped into signing a document giving Commodore Bainimarama a mandate not to hold elections in September next year as promised.
MICK BEDDOES: What we can see from what we've been told from our source in the island of Koro was that this petition that the people were asked to sign was supposedly for a seaweed project development, which would be funded by the government. Now, some of them got hold of the actual letter, the covering letter for that petition, and it was actually a letter addressed to the prime minister at government buildings. And it was saying in not so many words that they're happy with his efforts so far and there's no need to hold a general election and that petition signed by the people was a mandate from them to continue.
DON WISEMAN: How can you be certain that this wasn't something engineered by the Tui in Nasau? You're suggesting this is by the regime?
MB: Yes, because our source said that the language used in the letter and the typeset of the letter is not something that somebody in Koro could actually prepare for use. It had to have come from a source whereby all these facilities were readily available.
DW: Do you know of other villages, other districts where something similar has happened?
MB: This is the first one. We've heard of previous occasions whereby government officials talking to various villages about development first insist they must give their allegiance to the prime minister and the regime. If they do then they'll get their support and if they don't then they won't. But we suspect that it's obviously something that's going on when there has been repeated references by Bainimarama himself that his party will be formed or he will step down as the commander once his development programmes are concluded. Now, this is the development programme we're talking about. So they're going around offering development for all the rural areas and this is perhaps part of an overall strategy. And it kind of makes sense from what we've been hearing to then what we got told recently about what to place on 24 September.
DW: Yes. At the same time, of course, if the prime minister is going around the country spending all this money on development he is setting himself up well for an election, is he not?
MB: Yes, you would think so. And that's where we came up with the thought that perhaps that's why he wants to see how well he does. If he does well enough he'll probably be feeling confident enough to carry on with an election. And if not he will probably have secured enough of those petitions signed under the pretext of some development, to justify him not having it anyway. I mean, anything is possible in our current environment. That's what we're saying.
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