Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Fiji's Commodore Bainimarama - a complete idiot

The international condemnation of Commodore Frank Bainimarama's coup in Fiji has been welcome.

The man is a complete idiot and he is making idiots of the Fijian people in the eyes of the world.

New Zealand, as its largest neighbour, usually has benign influence over Fiji. I am delighted that Helen Clark, New Zealand's Prime Minister, has been voiciferous in condemning the coup. She said: "This is an outrage what is happening in Fiji."

New Zealand Radio reports her at fuller length:

"The message of the New Zealand government to the Commodore and the President is very clear," she (Clark) said.

"They should pull back even at this late stage from their unconstitutional action. If they do not they will cause irreparable damage to the economy and the people."

Miss Clark says it is also likely Fiji will again be suspended from membership of the Commonwealth.

She says Fiji's constitution only allows the President to remove the Prime Minister if he has lost the confidence of Parliament, and this is clearly not the case.

On BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Helen Clark said:

The Commodore warned Fijians not to carry out illegal acts. That is the supreme irony given that he has just ripped up his country's constitution and thrown it out of his barrack-room window.

Very succinctly put. I love the way those Antipodeans speak, don't you?

The Sydney Morning Herald describes events thus:

FIJI'S military chief, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has declared himself head of state, sacked the Qarase Government and justified his actions with references to the dismissal of Gough Whitlam.

Commodore Bainimarama said the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, had refused to accept the military's demands, as Fiji fell into its fourth coup in 20 years.

Citing a 1975 precedent, the dismissal of the Whitlam government by Australia's governor-general, John Kerr, Commodore Bainimarama invoked a part of Fiji's constitution allowing the president in "exceptional circumstances" to dismiss a government.

But when the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, refused to back him, the military chief appointed himself president. Commodore Bainimarama said he was breaking a "stalemate" after Ratu Iloilo's afternoon statement saying he was "neither supporting nor condoning" the military actions.

But have no fear. The idiot Bainimarama has appointed an interim prime minister, Jona Senilagakali, the military force's senior medical officer. Well, he must have a heck of a lot of experience of governing and really carry the confidence of the Fijian people, mustn't he?!

What I don't understand is this. Bainimarama's main gripe is that Qarese, the elected Fijian Prime Minister, was intending to give an amnesty to the movers of the coup six years ago.

In order to stop this, Bainimarama has committed an illegal act himself. Doh!

As if to emphasise the microscopic size of the man's brain, China Confidential reports:

Fiji's military commander, Frank Bainimarama, sees himself as the protector of multiculturalism in the Pacific island nation. He asserts that the deposed government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was discriminating against the ethnic Indian minority, which makes up about 40 percent of the population.

That's funny! Bainimarama appointed Qarese six years ago after the ethnic Indian Prime Minister had been locked up in the parliament and ousted - in a series of moves which increased the influence of the islands' indigenous population at the disadvantage of the ethnic Indians. Now he is getting rid of Qarese, he says, to do the opposite - give more voice to the ethnic Indians. Doh! Make up your mind you, numpty!


  1. Sadly though, the things the general is standing up for are to be admired. He is opposing :

    1) Racist policies which would set native Fijians as more superior citizens than the ethnic Indians.
    2) Plans to let those involved in racist attacks on Indians in 2000 be let off all charges.

    As an ethnic Fijian it comes to something that he is the one standing up for the minority !

  2. Thanks for the comment Nicholas and it is an understandable and reasonable point.

    However, I think his defence you describe is utterly disingenuous, ludicrously transparent and totally laughable when you consider the history of the last six years in Fiji. If the Commodore wanted to stand up for the Indians all he had to do was reinstate the elected Indian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry in 2000! He had the chance to do that, but instead he appointed Qarese (the man he has now desposed) as Prime Minister and held elections which narrowly endorsed Qarese as Prime Minister.

    The Fijian constitution has been painstakingly pieced back together (by international lawyers including British ones) after the last coup and there are plenty of opportunities in its parliamentary and judicial systems for checks and balances on decision-making.

    As Liberals I don't believe we should condone an illegal military act removing a democratically elected government on the grounds that the gun-toting idiot who has carried it out is claiming to stand up for a minority. He had plenty of chances to stand up for Chaudhry in 2000 but instead helped to throw him unceremoniously on the political scrap heap.

    I mention in passing that I had a letter published in the Fiji Times in 2000 supporting Chaudhry during the aftermath of the coup. And I proposed a motion at the LibDem conference supporting Chaudhry and condemning his overthrow. So I have spoken out in favour of the Indian minority/Chaudhry before.

    But the military can't keep changing the governments because they don't like them. When the heck is it going to stop?

  3. One additional point which I forgot: there were actually several members of the Labour Party (which is dominated by ethnic Indians) in the Fijian cabinet up until it was dissolved by the commodore. (However, Mehendra Chaudhry refused to join the cabinet and the Labour party members in it were the subject of much controversy). This was one of the stipulations of the constitution - that the ethnic Indians, effectively, should have representation in the government through a multi-party cabinet.

  4. Some of you guys here seem to be commenting on a issue you obviously have very little knowledge of. Although his aggressive utterings during press conferences in recent weeks did not paint a flattering image of the man (and of his interlectual capacity), Bainimarama is really a saint- fighting for jusitce and equality in a country where a community has been relegated to a second class status and opporessed and discriminated against in every possible way even though he is not one of that community. If u want, i can send of evidence of the discriminatory, racist and divsive policies of the Qarase administration. Atrocities are bsing done on the indians by the Fijians on a daily basis. Being physically weak, indians continue to be targetted and humiliated and abused by physically superior Indians every day. And if u guys support democracy so strongly, perhaps you would care to research on Qarase's comments when he was the interim PM after the coup. Even despite the High Court's ruling for the Chaudhary government to be restored, Qarase went to the extreme to ensure it didn't. At that moment, he was rejecting democracy as a "foreign flower" and what a hypocrite he is to now seek sympathy by using the appeal of the concept. When the court ruled that Chaudhary was the legitimate PM, Cmdr Bainimarama wanted to install him as the PM (or form a governmnet of national untiy made up of elected members of Parliament) but Qarase strongly objected and appealed to a higher court. He then colluded with the President to cut off Bainimarama from the final decison making and refred the decison to the nationalist Great Council of Chiefs(which endorsed the coups in 1987 and 2000 when Indians influenced govts were removed but is opposing the removal of this nationalist regime) which decided to let Qarase continue. The commmander was thus effectively muted because he respected the decison of the chiefs. Now, after witnessing repated slanted decisons and atrocities towards the indian communty by the chiefs and evryone else in power, he has lost confidence that anyone is capable of delievreing justice.
    And you've got to understand the situation the commander was in when he did not reinstall the Chaudhary govt in 2000- the nationalist uprising that would have followed was what he wanted to avoid. At that time, rebel groups were in possesion of arms and he did not want a confrontation that would have resulted in mass bloodshed. He is a very patriotic Fijian and he can't let that happen in his country - that's why he has been protesting peacefully and legally for the last 4 years but no one was listening to him. After looking at the steps he took to ensure that violence did not eventuate and the country faced the least possible disturbance, you'll begin to admire his intellect and consider removing the derogatory title.

  5. Anon.

    While I stand corrected on, and thank you for, the several points of fact you mention, by the admission of his own appointed interim Prime Minister, Bainimarama has committed an illegal act and therefore should be arrested and tried.

    I note that Bainimarama himself was under police investigation before the coup, that the mainly Indian Labour party was an (albeit small) coalition government partner and that Chaudhry himself has condemned the coup.

    Issues of corruption and discrimination should be dealt with within the framework of a democratic society and the Fijian Constitution, which can be modified democratically. You do not solve discrimination by disenfranchising the whole population for two years!

    The army works for the government elected by the people. Not the other way round.

    You write: "And you've got to understand the situation the commander was in when he did not reinstall the Chaudhary govt in 2000- the nationalist uprising that would have followed was what he wanted to avoid. At that time, rebel groups were in possesion of arms and he did not want a confrontation that would have resulted in mass bloodshed."

    If you don't mind me saying, I find this a rather weak, apologist argument.

    I thought Chaudhry was spelt Chaudhry, not Chaudhary as you have spelt it, is it not?

    Why are you so concerned about a title in a blog that ten people in the UK and about four in Aus/NZ/Fiji have read?

    Have I perhaps hit a nerve?

    It really is stupid - and criminal - for an army commodore to take over a country and destroy the constitution. You have to be really pig-headed and idiotic to do it. So my title was and is justified.I have supported the Indian minority in Fiji in the past and will continue to do so. But you don't move forward by deposing a democratically elected government.

    Both Mahendra Chaudhry and the Council of Chiefs have called for the reintstatement of Iloilo as President. That is what should happen.

    Ethnic Indians in Fiji do themselves no favours by supporting illegal military acts. It is deeply foolish to do this.
    Would Mahatma Gandhi have supported an illegal coup implemented through soldiers and guns? Of course not!!!

  6. A further thought, Anonymous. If you think Bainimarama is a "saint", why isn't he running for President. That is the role he seems to want to perform. Why doesn't he go through the constitutional, legal channels to run for President?