Aug 7, 2014

Mickey Mouse Games in Fiji

Another awesome letter by the wonderful Professor Narsey (illustration is mine)
Eligibility of candidates for elections and the Mickey Mouse games
Letter to Editor (The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Island Business)  6 August 2014

Dear Sir

Mr Aiyaz Khaiyum advises NGOs like Citizens Constitutional Forum to not play “Mickey Mouse games” before the elections (Fiji Sun, 5 August 2014). 

The public should consider that:

(a) The Bainimarama Government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money encouraging the voter registration of Fiji citizens living overseas so that they can have a say in electing some candidate for the parliament, even if they have Permanent Residency of and presumably some commitment to other countries.

(b) Civil servants, even if they have been out of the country for the last two years “on government business”, may still be eligible as candidates for the elections, and may even belong to political parties, according to the Permanent Secretary of the PSC.

(c) BUT an ordinary Fiji citizen, like Ms Makareta Waqavonovono, a former Legal Aid and committed senior Fiji government official, who has been overseas for more than 18 months out of the last two years, is declared legally ineligible to be a candidate by a sudden last minute change of the law on the 31st of July 2014, just a month before the elections, after Ms Waqavonovono has already been announced as a candidate by the National Federation Party.

Miki Asi punching out any perceived rivals to his paymaster
The moribund Fiji Law Society or one of its members, might want to ask the general question if laws are being changed to suit a specific circumstance or individual.

But more specifically, the public can ask why Ms Makareta Waqavonovono, a former senior civil servant, has been overseas for the last two years.

First, she has been guilty of bringing great credit to Fiji by working for AusAID and the Australian Government, arguably the most important donor to Fiji.

Second, she has been using her valuable legal skills in the Solomon Islands, a valuable member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group which Fiji often takes pride in helping, by providing much needed skilled human resources, similar to those possessed by Ms Waqavonovono.

Third, Ms Waqavonovono apparently has had the unpatriotic desire to waste her time and money by studying overseas (in Australia) and acquiring further educational qualifications that will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Fiji.

But with this latest decree by Mr Aiyaz Khaiyum (Attorney General and, apparently without any conflict of interest, also the General Secretary of the Fiji First Party), Ms Waqavonovono has been banned from offering to voters, the use of her extensive legal experience in the Fiji Parliament, the most important public service arena there is, superior even to the Government..

Anyone with common sense knows who exactly is playing “Mickey Mouse” games in Fiji with the elections and our people’s lives.

Professor Wadan Narsey

Aug 1, 2014

The Chicken or the Egg or Bainimarama

The question today ragone is which one of these really cameth first?

The yolk of the matter is this.

The lovely Makereta Waqavonovono has a simple wish. To stand up and be counted like any of us ordinary citizens. SHE WISHES TO REPRESENT HER PEOPLE IN THE ELECTIONS. She is well educated, is a great thinker and gave up many years of her life to accumulate knowledge and wisdom, but because of this it seems she is being treated like a criminal, or but wait - is it perhaps because of precisely this that she may represent the threat to Bainimarama's aspirations ?

Here is her letter.

It is plain to see she is being blocked by one of Bainimarara and Kaiyum's vacuous decrees churned out to protect their first race to the polls :

Meanwhile back in the barn, we have the judge in this case called Chen Bun Young who JUST HAPPENS to be a former associate of the Electoral Commission Chairperson. 

Is it obvious yet ragone? Or should I point this anomaly out ? Or is it a case of chicken brooding over egg ?

Back to the yolk of the matter. At this time in history the legality of the decree is not in question.

The court is being asked to rule on the meaning of who/what is an "ordinary resident of Fiji" (under section 56 (2) (c) of the Constitution and section 23 (5) of the Electoral Decree 2014)

Simple eh ?

No matter what the ruling, Bubu predicts a chicken ruling in the judge's seat. 
Why because -  this will impact upon all candidates of all parties including the head Rooster First party who travelled across the seas for 'Non-Govt' business in that 2 year period.
This truly will involve some more incredulous decree-churning from the Head Rooster's vice master Kaiyum will it not ?

UPDATE 1st August 2014

 As predicted - the Decree-churners have stayed up all night and churned out another amendment to the decrees that would rule Makereta out of the Elections.

They are trying their best folks to win the race to the polls by deceipt and desperation.

However, It ain't going to happen as the WILL of the collective is far more powerful than any of Bai and Kai's decrees.


Apr 22, 2014

Sordid display of rigging prior to Sept Fiji Elections 2014


When the self-elected Minister of Elections in any country goes out to register a Domain name (that will in a couple of years turn out to belong to the incumbent dictator in residence), and pays for it himself PRIOR to the announcement of the proposed elections in that country........

...... and then also ......

churn out a whole series of decrees to protect that incumbent dictator in residence, and all his officials from prosecution prior to and after the elections (being promised) ,

...... what do we have ?


A self elected Monster of Elections who is every part of the following description :



a corrupt official | corrupt practices: dishonest, unscrupulous, dishonorable, unprincipled, unethical, amoral, untrustworthy, venal, underhanded, double-dealing, fraudulent, bribable, criminal, illegal, unlawful, nefarious; informal crooked, shady, dirty, sleazy.

self-serving and sleazy in his efforts to rig the entire election in favour of his paymaster

1. immoral, unsavory, disreputable; informal shady, sleazoid.
2. squalid, seedy, seamy, sordid, insalubrious, mean, cheap, low-class, run-down; informal scruffy, scuzzy, crummy, skanky, flea-bitten.

Check it out .....

Apr 5, 2014

MIDA takes on Facebook

  by Marc Edge

Apparently it’s not enough for the Media Industry Development Authority to intimidate Fiji’s journalists into self-censorship and timidity. Now the new masters of MIDA want to also rein in discussion on social media like Facebook. There’s only one problem. As usual, they don’t seem to have the foggiest notion of what they’re talking about.

MIDA's Ashwin Raj (left) and Matai Akauola
MIDA Chair Ashwin Raj summoned the nation’s press to a “mandatory” press conference the other day, the metaphorical equivalent of a misbehaving child being summoned to the headmaster's office for a scolding. The nominal subject was “hate speech,” of which Raj had found Fiji TV guilty (without the need for a hearing, of course) for broadcasting rather mild comments by a chief in the prime minister’s home province who pointed to ethnic divisions in Fiji Society. As ethnic divisions aren’t allowed to exist in Frank Bainimarma’s multiracial paradise, the regime went off the deep end. Its media authoritarians were immediately tasked by the prime minister with bringing to heel not only Fiji TV, but the rest of Fiji’s press corps as well, lest reporting of the upcoming election campaign get out of hand and actually include criticism of the dictator.

The omnipotent Raj dutifully complied with remarkable alacrity, quickly finding Ratu Timoci Vesikula to have violated hate speech provisions of both the 2009 Crimes Decree and the recent regime-imposed constitution and referring the matter to Fiji’s Solicitor-General for disposition. He also found Fiji TV guilty of violating the 2010 Media Decree and ordered it to broadcast an apology and retraction, as if the speech never happened.

As a result of this finding, Fiji TV’s licence can now be summarily revoked by the government under the 2012 TV decree, with no possibility of appeal. Its licence, which inconveniently came up for renewal two years ago at the same time that it made the mistake of airing interviews with two former prime ministers who questioned the need for yet another constitution. It has thus been renewed for only six months at a time ever since in what has been described as less a licence than a “good behavior bond.”  FijiTV, which trades on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, promptly issued a statement to shareholders last week that promised to comply with MIDA’s order. 
This set the scene for Thursday’s remarkable press conference, an audio recording of which has been uploaded to YouTube. “I’m quite perturbed by the level of public discourse in Fiji as we head towards the national elections,” Raj began, reading from a five-page letter to FijiTV which was also released to the press. 
What is even more disconcerting is the complicity of select Fijian journalists and media either wittingly or those that remain oblivious to the laws of Fiji despite several awareness workshops on the Crimes Decree, the Media Industry Development Decree and the Constitution.
Raj was just getting warmed up. In addition to finding the chief’s statement unconstitutional and in contravention of the Crimes Decree, and FijiTV in breach of not just the Media Decree (all without the need for a hearing or apparently even legal submissions), the non-lawyer and failed academic personally absolved himself of muzzling the press.
My decision this morning cannot be misconstrued (emphasis in the original) as an impingement on the freedom of expression or dismissed as yet another instance of gagging media freedom by MIDA as has been insinuated by some who are posturing as the praetorian guard of human rights but sadly very quiet over the issue of hate speech.
He then ran through the possible punishments for Ratu Timoci – imprisonment for 10 years – and FijiTV – a fine of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to two years for its senior managers. Raj then announced that he would take further legal advice on FijiTV’s punishment and ordered the retraction as a preliminary measure. In reading his decision, Raj took the opportunity to put the entire Fiji news media on notice and to impose further restrictions and threats of sanction on them. MIDA will be “closely monitoring the tone of public discourse,” he said, through its recently-established “independent” media monitoring unit. 

Not only that, Raj told the assembled media throng, but henceforth he would require, “in the interests of transparency,” translations to be provided of speeches given in Fijian and Hindi at political rallies. “It is incumbent on the media in Fiji to ensure that there is no dissonance in the content of speeches and texts presented in either the vernacular or English in their various modes of delivery.” As further punishment, freelance journalists in Fiji will also now have to register with MIDA and provide "a full declaration of the organisations that they serve."

As he ran through his seven-point decision which imposed sanctions not only on the offending parties but by now on all Fijian media, Raj often deviated from his prepared text to further excoriate the assembled journalists. So it was when he finally reached his seventh and last point, which was obviously one of some vexation for the regime. Not only had Fijian journalists been derelict in their duty to report the news to the satisfaction of the regime, but they had been guilty of *shock horror* discussing it among themselves.
The conduct of a number of journalists on blogsites leaves much to be desired. One just has to see their contribution on Friends of the Fiji Media blogsite. I’m now asking all editors to address this issue as a matter of urgency.
Here is where he deviated from his text and proceeded to scold the nation’s press. “This is a question of professionalism,” he told them. “This is a question of ethical journalism.”
Be very careful what you write on these blogsites, because you’ve got an important responsibility. This is not to suffuse [sic.] the fact that you have, you know, certain political proclivities. We all have subjectivity. But that should not come in the way of your work.
He then singled out, although not by name, two members of the Facebook group Friends of Media Fiji, of which I am a member. “I’ve seen a very senior person from DFAT [Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] who I’ve had several meetings with,” he said, obviously referring to public affairs officer Dennis Rounds, “fully engaging in Friends of the Fiji Media.” He then took a run at freelance journalist Samisoni Pareti. 
I know of an ABC correspondent who’s also with Islands Business, writes all kinds of statements, I mean absolutely callous remarks, you know, unsubstantiated. That’s not the way journalists should be conducting themselves in this country.
Raj insisted that he was not embarking on a “vendetta against select media outlets” and claimed he was independent. “People are saying that I’m a lackey of the regime,” he noted. “I’ve got no dog in the fight, except for the fact that I've got to judiciously undertake this responsibility.” But  his message to journalists was clear. “Don’t resort to blogsites where you just trash people, because that is not a sign of democracy,” he told them. “That is not a sign of freedom of expression.”

That MIDA is unfamiliar with social media is painfully obvious from its conflating of blogs with the social network Facebook, where the group Friends of Fiji Media conducts its online discussions. Blogs have bedeviled the regime for years, ever since it imposed martial law in 2009 and clamped down on the press. Free online blogging sites such as Blogger and Wordpress, which had recently become popular, allowed users to set up sites on which to post their online ramblings. The result was the Fiji Freedom Blogs, which served as a kind of underground press in reaction to the regime’s clampdown on the mainstream media. The survivors, which are still active five years later, can be found listed on this blog, which I started in mid-2012 to chronicle some of Fiji’s media craziness. That misdeed got me run out of the country by the regime’s propaganda machinery more than a year ago. The junta has been unsuccessful in rooting out other Fiji Freedom Bloggers because most of them are already located safely offshore and aren’t so foolish as to put their name and picture on their blog, although the identities of several are well known.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are networks and groups of friends who select each other. As a result, their discussions are not available for anyone to read, as blogs are, but only to selected "friends." These groups are self-policing on multiple levels. At the group level, administrators can delete posts deemed to be abusive and banish group members who are malicious. This has recently happened in the Friends of Fiji Media group, whose administrators have become increasingly concerned with the problem of vitriol hurled between group members. New Zealand journalist Michael Field and myself, being foreigners, are lightning rods for abuse from regime cheerleaders who have infiltrated the group. The group has also recently been faced with the problem of rooting out fake members who have obviously (to me, at least) been set up by one particular regime cheerleader for the purpose of attacking myself and other regime critics. Without revealing the content of our discussions, which are supposed to be confidential, group members have recently been mulling its very existence in light of the fact that the regime has obviously been monitoring it. Apparently not all group members abide by the ethic of confidentiality, because the regime seems to be privy to our every word.

But MIDA’s complaint about abuse – “absolutely callous remarks” in Raj’s words – could be resolved easily enough by simply complaining to Facebook, which is quite willing to delete abusive posts or pages. It did so when I complained about this page set up by my bĂȘte noire regime cheerleader. It also deleted an illustration by a regime critic after a Fiji Sun reporter complained that it used her picture without permission. Of course, that doesn’t prevent the Sun from reprinting Facebook discussions if that serves its purpose of discrediting regime critics. It did so with a recent exchange between political hopeful Roshika Deo and regime hitman Graham Davis, without Deo’s consent. She promises that a complaint to MIDA will be forthcoming as a result. (How do you like her chances?) Grubby recently quit the blogging business and went underground as a Facebook troll after I outed him as a regime propagandist. He actually inhabited the Friends of Fiji Media group briefly last year after the Sun complained that we were talking about him behind his back. He tried to give me the business there, but I gave it back to him in spades and he thought the better of continuing. It seems that MIDA has other proxies there, although I have been trying to shine a spotlight on them, too.

Social media, especially Facebook, promises to be a key battleground in the upcoming election campaign (it hasn’t started yet, has it?), as Radio New Zealand recently pointed out. You would think that the regime would have the upper hand there, as social media smear campaigns are a specialty of its Washington-based spin doctors, Qorvis Communications.  You’d also think that the $1 million a year that Fijian taxpayers pay Qorvis would entitle MIDA’s masters to some tutoring in the subject of social media. It is badly needed.

Mar 31, 2014

Bainimarama Regime presents Fiji’s electoral nightmare

Bainimarama Regime presents Fiji’s electoral nightmare
by Professor Wadan Narsey (30 March 2014)

(with minor corrections in blue below)(31 March 2014)

The ELECTORAL DECREE 2014 (DECREE NO. 11 OF 2014) is finally out, suggesting that voting will be a nightmare for voters.

There will be one national constituency to elect 50 parliamentarians in a proportional system, based on “Open Lists” (another article on that).

Even before the Decree was issued, Bainimarama stated on his campaign trail that voters will choose from 250 candidates from five political parties (presumably with each party putting forward 50 candidates).

But the Schedule at the end of the Electoral Decree 2014 indicates the possibility of 280 candidates (presumably also allowing for 30 Independents).

The Decree expects that the voter will face one massive ballot paper, with 280 squares, with each square having a number between 135 and 414. In the booth, and also publicized all around the country, will be listed all 280 candidates, with their names, photos and numbers.
The numbers, between 135 and 414,  will be randomly allocated to the candidates and has to be remembered by the voters.

The new  look "Lotto" lballot paper that every Fijian will be given 2 mins to vote from
In the polling booth, the voter will have to locate his/her preferred candidate, and circle, tick or cross the one square, which contains their chosen number, out of these 280 squares.

The ballot paper will not have names, or photos, or party symbols. Only numbers.

The voting nightmare

There are hundreds of thousands of voters throughout Fiji, who may have great difficulty in finding their preferred candidate on such a large ballot paper with 280 names and numbers.

Some political parties or candidates might quite sensibly think that they could help their supporters to take a small piece of paper, with the number of their preferred candidate written down.

But sorry, Section 52 (2) of the Electoral Decree states:
 “It shall be unlawful for any person to bring into a polling station or polling venue any type of paper or any specimen or sample of a ballot paper or any card or instruction on how to vote.”

 Section 52 (3) then warns voters,
“If the Supervisor or presiding officer has reasonable suspicion that a voter is in breach of subsection (2), he or she may request the assistance of a police officer to search the voter, and it shall be lawful for a police officer to take such measures as necessary to conduct a search of the voter.”


A decent law-abiding citizen of this country, exercising his or her right to make an informed choice in the election by taking a piece of paper into the polling booth to help him or her to vote,  can be searched, on suspicion, like a common criminal?

AND FURTHERMORE, if any such material is found on them, Section 52 (4) further warns,
 “Any person who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or to both.

What sorts of serious crime does Fiji’s justice system hand out such horrendous punishment?

The contemptuous charade continues

But we should not be surprised any more by this Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime’s antics.

For this is an unelected military dictatorship, which removed a lawfully elected government in 2006, and ruled us without our permission and without anyone voting for them, for eight whole years.

They have unilaterally imposed unlawful decree after decree on us, culminating in the 2013 Bainimarama/Khaiyum Constitution, which promises them and their collaborators, total immunity for any crime they may have committed from 2000 to elections in 2014.

But they threaten decent law-abiding voters that if they innocently take a piece of paper into the polling booth to help them vote for their preferred candidate for the first time in eight years, they may be fined $50,000 and jailed for 10 years.

It would be a joke, if it was not such a nightmare.

This Regime has ignored all recommendations from political parties and the general public for far more sensible, understandable, and workable proportional electoral systems (such as local constituencies with a small number of candidates, who voters  could easily identify with and choose from).

Instead, through the advice of a secret scheming cabal of shadowy collaborators, this Bainimarama Regime has thrust this electoral nightmare on our people through this Electoral Decree 2014.

All that the freedom loving people of Fiji and other political parties can do is grit their teeth and see where peaceful participation in this pathetic electoral charade takes them.

Addendum: some sick jokes

Joke 1:  what if voters simply write their candidate’s number on some hidden part of their body, which they can look at, inside the privacy of the polling booth? Will all voters be strip-searched by the police?

There are lots of other sick jokes in the 2014 Electoral Decree.

Joke 2 : from the Decree, section 115 states:

 Restrictions on campaigns
115.—(1) Following the announcement of the date of the election, it shall be unlawful for any person, entity or organisation (including any person employed or engaged by any such person, entity or organisation) that receives any funding or assistance from a foreign government, inter-governmental or non-governmental organisation or multilateral agency to engage in, participate in or conduct any campaign (including organising debates, public forum, meetings, interviews, panel discussions, or publishing any material) that is related to the election or any election issue or matter.

Not only can CFF, FWRM, WCC, and other NGOs forget these educational activities after the announcement of the date of elections.[Universities are apparently allowed to have such education campaigns and organize debates, panel discussions. etc]
Joke 3 : Section 63 (2) (d) states that in the In the 48 hour period prior to polling day and on the polling day until the close of polling at all polling stations, it is strictly prohibited for any person to—
 ”distribute in any manner (including through telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means) any campaign material or communicate political messages, including calls to vote for or against a particular political party or candidate in the election.


Does this Decree effectively gives  the Bainimarama Regime the draconian authority to monitor all our phone calls, emails, and Internet usage, and conduct electronic surveillance on citizens that infringes on their basic human right to privacy?

Joke 4             Section 113  Prohibition on use of State resources to campaign
 (1) It shall be unlawful to use State authority, including law and tax enforcement authorities, to pressure or intimidate political opposition.

 (2) It shall be unlawful for any public officer to conduct campaign activities.

But of course, there is some Decree which states that Bainimarama and his other unelected Ministers are not “public officers”, and they will be allowed to remain in office, handing out goodies all around the country (of  course,not buying any votes) and maligning any “old politician” they want (except those in his own gang).

Joke 5:             Section 27 (2) the  nomination of an independent candidate is not valid unless it is accompanied by
(b) signatures of at least 1,000 registered voters as supporters; and

(c) ) contain the full names, residential addresses, occupation and voter numbers of the supporters.

So for poor Independent candidates, forget the principle of the “secrecy of the ballot box” and who are going to vote for you.

The Regime and other political parties will know exactly who are your supporters, who they can target in whatever way they want.

Just as they can target the 5000 persons who sign up as “supporters” of political parties.