Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 18:38 | SYDNEY
Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 18:38 | SYDNEY

Bainimarama: Talking the talk?


Fergus Hanson


27 July 2009 12:03

In his Dateline interview with Mark Davis last night, Fiji's 'Frank' Bainimarama was certainly trying his best — given the circumstances under which he came to power and actions since — to speak the language of rights.

We had plenty of verbal white phosphorus with talk of 'one man, one vote', an end to racial politics and respect for the rule of law. At last a military dictator who is going to do what he says and resolve intractable problems?

Not likely. While simultaneously trying to talk the talk of rights, Bainimarama betrayed himself. Rule of law under attack? The following exchange helped clear things up.

BAINIMARAMA: I sacked the judges? Where did you get the brief that I sacked the judges?
REPORTER:   Probably every media report on the planet. 
BAINIMARAMA: The judges went out when His Excellency abrogated the constitution.
REPORTER:  Yes, but the judges declared your government, or your rule, illegal.
BAINIMARAMA: No, no, the judges were removed when the constitution was abrogated.
REPORTER:  So, the constitution was removed and then the judges are then removed with it?
…REPORTER:   Everything removed except your power. 
BAINIMARAMA: No, that was removed. I was reinstated as prime minister the day after. 

And his view on 'one man one vote' and solution to the ethnic issues that have so long dominated politics in Fiji?

BAINIMARAMA: It's [representation of the will of the Fijian people] not going to take us anywhere because as I've said we are trying to change the mindset of the people from the racial issues that were prevalent in the last 10 years to what we want to take Fiji to.

 Photo by Flickr user MJField, used under a Creative Commons license.