The Constitution – everyone is a player

January 7, 2008 at 6:51 am 8 comments

As it stands (in the eyes of the majority), the Constitution of Fiji is the highest law of the land. If in doubt, refer to the constitution for advice.

Now in the case of the military and interim government, it means “picking and choosing” what advice they take.

For example, they conveniently observe Chapter Seven s109 of the constitution regarding the dismissal of the Prime Minister. And back it up with some absurd reason such as the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Goverment by Governor-General Michael Kerr. Yeah whatever. Kerr dismissed Whitlam because the upper house was blocking supply. Not because the Australian Defence Force did not like what Whitlam was doing with the country.

But when it comes to Chapter 4 s25 of the constitution regarding freedom from cruel or degrading treatment, a blind eye is turned. Colonel Driti unleashes his quasi-sexual torturous orders against people, people get bashed at checkpoints with withheld medical care and citizens are killed brutally and in the most degrading way. And these individuals have received little or no recourse. Meanwhile the military says its fine since these people were either resisting, breaking the law or just annoying the military. No precedent whatsoever is applied by the military in their treatment of others.

But just remember no matter how much you are against the military or the interim government, we are all bound by the constitution. Everyone must follow it. Lets have a look at some examples to get you thinking and hopefully reading.

1) Decrees and promulgations such as the immunity decree and the FICAC promulgation hailed the interim government as law.

=> The appropriate constitutional section.

Section 45 Legislative power

The power to make laws for the State vests in a Parliament consisting of the President, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

2) Bainimarama bleating on about how racist Fiji is and how its destroying the country. How some politicians are giving the Vanua too much and giving Indians too little. How the churches and Fijian organisations are spreading rumours and lies about other peoples.

=> If someone is being discriminated, then they can refer to this section.

Section 38 Equality

(1) Every person has the right to equality before the law. (2) A person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on the ground of his or her: (a) actual or supposed personal characteristics of circumstances, including race, ethnic origin, colour, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, birth, primary language, economic status, age or disability; or (b) opinions or beliefs, except to the extent that those opinions or beliefs involve harm to others or the diminution of the rights or freedoms of others; or on any other ground prohibited by this Constitution. (3) Accordingly, neither a law nor an administrative action taken under a law may directly or indirectly impose a disability or restriction on any person on a prohibited ground. (4) Every person has the right of access, without discrimination on a prohibited ground, to shops, hotels, lodging-houses, public restaurants, places of public entertainment, public transport services, taxis and public places. (5) The proprietor of a place or service referred to in subsection (4) must facilitate reasonable access for disabled persons to the extent prescribed by law. (6) A law, or an administrative action taken under a law, is not inconsistent with the right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of: (a) language: (b) birth; (c) economic status; (d) age; or (e) disability; during the period of 2 years after the date of commencement of this Constitution if the law was in force immediately before that date and has remained continually in force during that period. (7) A law is not inconsistent with subsection (1), (2) or (3) on the ground that it: (a) appropriates revenues or other moneys for particular purposes; (b) imposes a retirement age on a person who is the holder of a public office; (c) imposes on persons who are not citizens a disability or restriction, or confers on them a privilege or advantage, not imposed or conferred on citizens; (d) permits a person who has a discretion to institute or discontinue criminal proceedings to take account in the exercise of that discretion of traditional procedures in the State for the settlement of disputes; or (e) makes provision with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters as the personal law of any person or the members of any group; but only to the extent that the law is reasonable and justifiable in a free and democratic society. (8) A law, or an administrative action taken under a law, may limit a right or freedom set out in this section for the purpose of: (a) providing for the application of the customs of Fijians or Rotumans or of the Banaban community: (i) to the holding, use or transmission of, or to the distribution of the produce of, land or fishing rights; or (ii) to the entitlement of any person to any chiefly title or rank; (b) imposing a restriction on the alienation of land or fishing rights held in accordance with Fijian or Rotuman custom or in accordance with Banaban custom; or (c) permitting the temporary alienation of that land or those rights without the consent of the owners. (9) To the extent permitted by subsection (10), a law, or an administrative action taken under a law, may limit a right or freedom set out in this section for the purpose of providing for the governance of Fijians or Rotumans or of the Banaban community and of other persons living as members of a Fijian, Rotuman or Banaban community. (10) A limitation referred to in subsection (9) is valid only if it: (a) accords to every person to whom it applies the right to equality before the law without discrimination other than on the ground of race or ethnic origin; and (b) does not infringe a right or freedom set out in any other section of this Chapter.

3) Bainimarama going on about how convicted criminals will not stand for elections in Fiji.

=> Well unfortunately for you Josaia, they can.

Section 58 Nomination as candidate for election

(1) A person is not eligible to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives unless duly nominated. (2) A person is not qualified to be nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives if he or she: (a) is not a registered voter or has ceased to have a right to be registered as a voter; (b) is an undischarged bankrupt; or (c) has an interest in an agreement or contract entered into with the Government or a government authority, being an interest of a kind prescribed by the Parliament as an interest that must not be held by a member of the Parliament or a presiding officer of a House of the Parliament. (3) Only a person registered on a roll referred to in subparagraph 51 (1)(a)(i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) is qualified to be nominated as a candidate for election by the voters on that roll. (4) A law made by the Parliament may make provision relating to the nomination of candidates. (5) If, at the close of nominations for 2 or more elections to the House of Representatives, there exist nominations of a person for 2 or more of those elections, each of the nominations is invalid.

So if you’re reading this at home, get on the net or go and buy a copy of the constitution. Its an important document that every Fijian should read, learn and understand to see where they stand and what rights they have.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

What fucking charter? What fucking council? Republic of Fiji Air Force?

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Woilei  |  January 7, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Awesome pointers Tardwatch. Vinaka. We know it was there somewhere. Can you PDF the Constitution for us to download – and do you know if it is available in Fijian in PDF ?

  • 2. natewaprince  |  January 7, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Very true.The pigs are making their own rules as they go along.In most cases,they interpret the constitution to suit their own agenda.

    But usually it all erupts in their face because they have an Arsehole,literally,giving bad illegal advice to a bad illegal govt.

  • 3. Maqa a Leqa  |  January 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    What do you expect from a bunch of failed politicians, immature lawyers, military dictators, and soldiers? It is a wonder this country is managing to stay afloat under the leadership of all these unqualified, unelected, inexperienced idiots!

  • 4. kaiwai  |  January 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    sa dredre sara ga na via vakamacala vei ira na viavia vuku..sega ni kila qai viavia kila.

  • 5. tardwatchfiji  |  January 8, 2008 at 4:20 am

    Specially for you Woilei, I have a link to the constitution. You can save the text from the webpage.

    Its here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Fiji_Islands

    As I have said, copy it, print it and email it to whoever you can think of. Pass it on. If a large chunk of the population becomes well versed in the constitution, then the military and interim government will struggle to put in place their plans.

    They are relying on people not really knowing or understanding how it works. All they are doing is talking about “keeping constitutionality in Fiji”. If the majority knows what it is and how it works, you will find some very worried faces.

  • 6. Fiji Democracy Now  |  January 8, 2008 at 5:38 am

    The constitution should be the focus of all these discussions. Good
    point TWF. We at brother democracy blog Fiji Democracy Now have
    the Constitution as a permanent link on our front page, which you
    kindly provide as a link on Tard Watch.

    The most important issue with the constitution is the powers of the
    President. It is no accident that these were tightly defined in the
    1997 Constitution. The experience of the first election in 1977 when
    the Governor General, Ratu Sir George Cakobau appointed Ratu
    Mara as PM even though he had less than a majority of the seats in
    the House of Reps is one of the precedents that could not be ignored. When the NFP won a narrow majority in the first 1977 election, it was rumoured that someone from the NFP side (KR are you reading this?) called the GG to say that the NFP were not solidly behind the leader, good old Sid Koya. The NFP were outraged when Mara was re-appointed but they took a little time to pass their motion of no-confidence which precipitated the second election of 1977. This time Ratu Mara and the Alliance won handsomely as result of the NFP split, you, know, the one they all denied. (KR can you shed any light on this?)

    Then in 1987 came the “ai sokula two step”, an amazing dance
    performed by Mr Lightfingers and the late Ratu Sir Penaia. In the
    end, after two coups, a GG became a President and Fiji found itself
    looking for a new constitution. And we are expected to believe that
    Ratu Penaia performed all of the pirouettes and sidesteps without any idea of where it might all end up. Some people I know think that the coup was all his idea in the first placet and Lightfingers got the gig as a result.

    With all this experience of the powers of the head of state, the Reeves Commission were more than a little wary of executive power.
    Prof Brij Lal has made this clear on more than one occasion. The
    President can only act on the advice of the PM appointed after an
    election. As for a pig being able ‘to step into the shoes’ of a
    President, sack an elected PM and then appoint the man whose
    shoes he borrowed as president again, this just defies belief. All this
    means is that if the President was in good enough health to fully understand what he was doing when he was manipulated, he too probably belongs in Naboro.

    Anyway, TWF, congratulations from the FDN team. We could not
    agree more with the view that the constitution offers the only way out of this mess. It’s just a matter of time before this becomes clear to all but the key criminal conspirators.

  • 7. iceman  |  January 8, 2008 at 6:16 am

    The main problem is this Illegal PM does not know or fully understand what is written in the constitution of Fiji. That is the problem when a no brainer like Voreqe is leading the Army and the Nation.

  • 8. Dauvavana  |  January 11, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Iceman, even the illegal A-G does not know the constitution. Remember her appointment of Koila Mara as Constitutional Boundaries Commission Chairman?

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