28 August, 2000
CHAUDHRY AND THE 1997 CONSTITUTION CANNOT BE REIMPOSED BY FORCE
Statement by the Minister for Information & Communications, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola
Those at home and abroad, including political leaders who think that Mahendra Chaudhry and the 1997 Constitution can be
brought back by force, are deluding themselves.
First of all, it was the army which abrogated the 1997 Constitution on 29 May as it saw it an essential step towards
restoring stability and putting in place a much needed new administration to revive the economy. That cannot be altered.
Second the Fijian people and others too have now made clear that they want neither Chaudhry nor the 1997 Constitution
forced down their throats again.
Third, Chaudhry's own deputy Dr Tupeni Baba has publicly stated in the press that Chaudhry's style of leadership gave
offence to Fijians and was a cause of widespread disenchantment with his politics. And Chaudhry's son and private
secretary equally publicly has made clear that his father's style will not change. Chaudhry is thus no longer acceptable
to the people of Fiji.
Fourth, recently Fijian high chief from Tailevu, and Vice President of the Republic publicly said that the coup was not
against Indians but against Chaudhry and his government as his arrogant style made Fijians fearful about the security of
their own asset, their land.
Fifth, the Qaranivalu of Naitasiri, another high chief was quoted in the press over the weekend as saying "If the former
Labour Government were more transparent then the coup would not have happened. Mahendra Chaudhry just spoke transparency
he didn't act it".
Sixth, the President of one of the parties allied to him in Government, Ratu Josaia Rayawa was reported on the national
radio news as saying that his party wanted a new constitution making Fiji a Christian State and reserving 70% of
parliamentary representative for indigenous Fijians. Obviously his party the VLV/CDA is no longer willing to work with
Seventh, earlier another of Chaudhry's Fijian allies the Fijian Association Party (FAP) had decided that its
relationship with the Fiji Labour Party had ended and that in any case it had never been a genuine or satisfactory
partnership. Thus with the FAP and VLV/CDA having abandoned Chaudhry and his FLP, Chaudhry has no Fijian mandate
whatsoever and he cannot be imposed upon the country.
Eighth, disgusted with Chaudhry's critics in India even Indo-Fijians do not want him back. Here is a sample of what
Indians are saying in the press.
In a very short letter Kamal Pal Kumar of Suva wrote as follows in the Fiji Times (25/8): "Since Mahendra Pal Chaudhry
has allegiance to India, the interim government should declare Mr Chaudhry persona non grata".
Another Fiji Indian, Praveen Bala writing from Chaudhry's forever constituency in Ba, accuses his government, having
destroyed racial relations through "arrogance and dictatorial attitude". Hence, Praveen Bala concludes, "I want to
reiterate to Chaudhry. Shut up or ship out. We have had enough of your nonsense".
There is thus no way that the people of Fiji will have Chaudhry, his government and the 1997 Constitution imposed upon
them. They want peace and stability not actions which will reawaken ethnic strife and result yet again in widespread
civil disturbance. Chaudhry is history and so is the 1997 Constitution. Let them remain so.
28 August, 2000 N0:927
MONEY FOR STRIFE - CHAUDHRY'S CAMPAIGN
Chaudhry's campaign to regain power has bogged down in India and become a money gathering game, says a government
"Will this be another 1987 money harvest with no accountability of amounts collected and with the expenditure kept
secret? Obviously the 1987 files have been lost and nobody in the Fiji Labour Party wants to talk about them. Though
Chaudhry is seeing all and sundry in India it is all a show of ethnic solidarity.
"For instance what does Sonya Gandhi know about Fiji and the socio-economic situation of its indigenous people and their
rights and aspirations. Her pronouncements on Fiji are hollow and of no consequence".
"The campaign to denigrate Fijian leadership in India will be counterproductive. Besides India cannot intervene in
Fiji's affairs. If India embarks on an international campaign to destabilise the interim administration or to hurt Fiji
through economic sanctions it will be responsible for undermining our economic recovery. It will also be guilty of
delaying the return of democracy speedily as the interim administration intends.
"There is already an administration in place, appointed by the Bose Levu Vakaturaga, which alone has the power in the
present situation to determine who shall govern. Chaudhry must accept he is now history. He will have to wait till the
new constitution and the next general election".