Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Continued concerns for Fiji

News coverage in the UK about Fiji has gone quiet. However, the military rule continues. New Zealand Radio reports today that the Council of Chiefs have finally thrown their weight behind the interim government, after weeks of refusing to bow to the blessed Commodore.

After initially condemning the coup, Mahendra Chaudhry (former prime minister deposed by the last but one coup - do try to keep up at the back) has joined the interim government, making some eye-catching comments:

The New Zealand government has rejected a challenge by Fiji's former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, to visit and witness the damage he says was wrought by the Qarase government.

Mr Chaudhry, who himself was deposed in a coup in 2000, has been appointed as Minister for Finance, Sugar Reform and National Planning in the interim government.

Mr Chaudry says in condemning the coup, Australia and New Zealand have ignored the undemocratic nature of Mr Qarase's election.

The last comment is an interesting one.

We can only pray that things settle down and Fijian democracy is restored pdq. Although it is admittedly patronising to say it from this distance, sooner or later the Fijian nation is going to have to learn, in the words of Randolph Churchill, to "trust the people" and allow democracy to take its permanent course without continual military interventions.

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