...das Paradies ist noch nicht verloren

Bulaman Blog - Mai 2007

14. Mai 2007

Ein sehr interessantes Essay von Dr. Ropate Qalo, einem von mir geschätztem Mann der University of the South Pacific, erschien heute in der "Fiji Times":

There's a time when politics and chiefs cannot mix

Monday, May 14, 2007

It is common knowledge that most chiefs of the past 50 to 60 years live with their people in a face to face' socially integrated and structurally integrated society. Most were impressed with and followed Ratu Sukuna's plan for ethnic Fijians as a civil servant.

Today the social and the bureaucratic structures are divided and most chiefs live in towns and cities, if not physically at least mentally.

Many are politically motivated. Their view of the good life is based on urban standards like most people on the planet. Such a dominant view of so-called' modernisation is embedded in most development plans, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and the evolving Pacific Plan.

This opinion is part of some of the writer's observations related to chiefs and politics and the loss of their integrity because of the differing context in which they now operate.

Social integration and structural integration just cannot mix if we follow Giddens sociological analysis. Of course there are many theoretical analysis that could be used. But if we use Giddens, therein lies what Nayacakalou "called a monstrous nonsense" or contradiction when chiefs and Fijians believe that they can preserve and change or do both simultaneously. But that is a matter of opinion when we consider monarchies of modern and not so modern states e.g. Britain, Japan, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and so on that are able to separate social traditional and bureaucratic structural institutions.

To those who have been following the news and the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) this perspective may add another dimension to some aspects of chieftaincy from an urban-rural Fijian point of view. Let me go back a decade and flag what appears to be the decline of chiefly integrity because of political and traditional' confusion of roles and conclude why Ratu Sukuna has become a symbol of chieftaincy to a great number of Fijians (Ethnic, Indo and those not included in those categories) because he could separate the roles he needed to play.

Ten years ago, Major General Sitiveni Rabuka was elected ahead of the late Adi Lady Lala Mara for president of the SVT in 1996 or there about. Many remember that election.

It may be called the end of an era'. That was the first public political interaction of Fijians suggesting an institutional shift, illustrating that a paramount chief can be moved from leadership in our now time'.

Although the earlier coup was claimed to place chiefs back as leaders with the late Ratu Mara who became the interim Prime Minister. We have so far had three significant interim prime ministers: Ratu Mara, Laisenia Qarase, and Ratu Voreqe via coups.

It was reported the Great Council of Chiefs had finally decided they should be independent of political parties in January 1997. This decision essentially admits the fact it had been politicised since 1970 and more so in 1987 by the coup leader and his SVT government.

He was made a life member and it might be recalled the SVT claimed to be the chiefs' party. This may also be attributed to the constitutional reform then being finalised.

The late Sakeasi Butadroka applauded the decision together with a great majority of this country (one must add, at the time). This is perhaps why it was called "Chiefs score major coup" two days earlier than the applause from the late nationalist. Perhaps it should be given a more sober title like "FA welcomes chiefs' move". This is a more subtle use of words that conveys culture, sensitivity, and thought relative to the reference to coups.

It was also later reported that "Government yesterday clarified that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga did not discuss a severance of ties between the BLV and the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT)". The same report stated "Assistant Minister for Fijian Affairs said, however, that the discussions during the meeting centred around the establishment of a secretariat and the appointment of a chairman for the BLV."

The above paragraph conveyed to GCC members the BLV was satisfied with the then arrangement of the BLV and SVT partnership. However, the GCC was serious that the members wanted a chief to be in the position of chair in a separate entity such as the one that has now been suspended. It was also put in the statutes that members of parliament were not to be GCC members. This is a far cry from the previous GCC membership that was inclusive of politicians and ministers.

This week and the previous, newspapers and television carried items of news articulating the older order of chiefs against the younger ones it seems. Time has exposed the bureaucratic structure was susceptible to traditional infiltration or social integration. Those who conducted the latest coup are bent on bureaucratic structural integration. Some GCC members appear not to appreciate the contradiction. The structural integration separated from the social may be encouraged by Parliamentary Paper No. 71 of Fiji, Volume II (2002: 26-7) as well as Volume I besides the Fijian Affairs Act. It is also possible that it is backed by the LLM Thesis of the Interim Attorney General.

We all tend to agree that in the march of time the country must adjust itself to the reality of our now time' with rising sea levels which will definitely have a good number of our chiefly villages submerged. Globalisation, sustainable development, and good governance all become important as we move from a tribal system to a class system in the Pacific Plan. Theoretically the tribal being the "face-to-face" social integration reciprocity relationship and structure integration reciprocity are one and the same thing. In the class society they are separate where the structure involves reciprocity between groups and collectives i.e. achieved over time and space (cited in Craib's criticism of Giddens Theory of Structuration in modern social theory: from Parsons to Habermas 2nd Edition 1992: 115).

Ratu Sukuna's words written just over ninety (90) years ago "The truth is that the theory of equality in relation to Fijian society is a destructive theory with all the defects of its kind" (23.01.17 in Scarr's Three Legged Stool 1983: 48) appears to be the interpretation embedded in the Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) with the dividend of more than $2.046 million (Fiji Times May 5th, 2007: 20) to some. It is straight out of Animal Farm in the words of Squealer "some are more equal than others". Such warped interpretation of tradition is more than interesting and is rumoured to be the focus of the Interim Government's so-called clean up campaign. FHL is legal as an entity but questionable ethically it seems. Herein is the debate of social responsibility or democracy first the egg or chicken first debate. The FHL interpretation also applies to the $60million that runs the GCC in such a view.

It also may be argued to relate to the BLV and SVT coalition. Some might even stretch it to the latest Sports Council audited report now making our so-called news.

These interpretations need to be examined in some detail and depth beside other specifically Fijian ones that we will consider below.

However, back to the words of Ratu Sukuna, these were spoken as he was contemplating the mammoth task of the codification and registration of Fijian traditions, especially on land, and culture in 1917. Demographic trend at the time and belief show that Fijians will be extinct in the near future.

Now we have the wisdom of hindsight.

He stood up to protect the indigenes as the knowledge of time allowed.

His lone work to his retirement and death was incomplete as noted in Scarr in the above book.

Today some chiefs through birth, great or small, have lost the use of knowledge, wisdom and tact from consultation with members of the clan in the service of their kin or veiwekani. Ratu Sukuna was selfless and stood for integrity rather than heroism given his time and space in our recent history. Chiefs today and coup leaders will be remembered by their fellow citizens in the fullness of time and perhaps judged publicly or privately. Meanwhile, it seems that the preference for more and more still is all too obvious, unlike Ratu Sukuna. It appears integrity has been overcome by public relations, popularity, and the vote, needless to mention the pursuit for the almighty dollar one way another without scruples by some. In this sense it appears but cannot be confirmed that the latest coup leader has adopted the truism that sometimes you have to be cruel in order to be kind'. Only time will tell.

After 20 years, the coups have created more problems than they have solved. Coups are for those who refuse to see the obvious. The obvious being, one, two, three, four wrong or coups cannot make a right. As we look to the future realistically Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua in the Native Lands and Fisheries Commission has spoken out about the chiefly tradition of the need for consensus to install a chief in each yavusa. We have 1456 yavusa and 221 vanua and 192 tikina or district (PP No. 71 Vol. 1 of 2002: 50) in the whole of Fiji. The GCC is the pinnacle of the yavusa through consensus at district and provincial level.

Strictly speaking, traditions that are Fijian are determined by those yavusa. The independence of Fijians is thereby determined and practised as it is interpreted between the Navatu and Bau people for example, as veitabani within certain limits that are not defined and susceptible to abuse. Is this an interpretation in 1987 that gave courage rather than reason to those who carried it out? This tribal system raises numerous obvious legal questions and the interpretation of common law that goes back to the Magna Carta between Rome and England over 800 years ago. It is maintained that in Fiji such interpretations and interactions resting on tribal ways and symbolism that needs to be examined for traditional, cultural, and political reasons. This seems to be the untouched area that Fijians are so sensitive about and to which most researchers find too sensitive to cover.

Work on Fijian tradition of thoughts on a topic about Thinking about thinking', Na vakasamataki ni vakasama may be the most unlikely solution to stop what some have referred to as the coup culture. Such a label may be correct in the era building up to the cession in 1874 which was reignited in 1987. However, with all our present day knowledge, information technology, and mobility it is difficult to understand how Ratu Sukuna's work could remain untouched and incomplete for 49 years or half century with the view of a more realistic interpretation that will maintain the integrity that was central to his work.

After all our past is in the future when our descendants will find new knowledge and impress upon it their own interpretations. Failure to prepare for an institutional interpretation that evolves integrity is a preparation for failure. This will mean prolonged chaos. We need to get our institutions like schools, church, districts, provinces, towns, cities, GCC and so on to do things like Ratu Sukuna with integrity. Put simply, integrity is what we do honestly, pure, and unselfish when there are no spectators.

As we celebrate Ratu Sukuna's life later in the month, on May 28, we might ask our leaders and ourselves to reflect, ponder, recognise the contradictions and the need for integrity that chiefs and everyone needs to promote our bleeding country.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of his employer, the University of the South Pacific.

11. Mai 2007

Droht Fijiwebs.ch das Gleiche? Glaube nicht, denn wir nehmen ja keine Partei für irgendjemandem. Ich selbst habe eigentlich nur eines im Sinn: Korruption und Skandale zu enthüllen (was für grosse Worte, ist ja fast peinlich, so was zu schreiben). Aber im Ernst. Heute in der "Fiji Times" dieser Artikel:

Military says it will shut down blog sites today

Friday, May 11, 2007

Update: 2.58pm FIJI's military has confirmed it will shut down blog sites such as intelligentsiya.com, Pacific Radio News has reported.

Colonel Pita Driti said it would happen this afternoon.

The blog sites intelligentsiya, resistfrankscoup and fijishamelist have been publishing damaging detailed personal allegations against senior figures in the military government.

Colonel Driti says they haven't been able to find the people behind the blog sites but will close them down for good.

Fiji Times Online was unable to contact Colonel Driti.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni could not confirm whether the websites had been shut down although he said there was talk that they would be.

Resistfrankscoup yesterday reported the military had advised FINTEL to shutdown the sites, but no one at FINTEL was in a position to answer queries.

FINTEL's chief executive officer Sakaraia Tuilakepa, who is the only one authorised to speak on such matters, is on leave and could not be reached for a comment.

Yesterday, resistfrankscoup had also falsely reported that the Tui Tavua, Ratu Ovini Bokini, had died.

6. Mai 2007

Um die IT-Geschichte beim NLTB kommt wieder frischer Wind auf. Und natürlich kommt wieder Herr Ballu Khan und reisst seinen Mund auf. Der KPMG-Auditreport sei nicht glaubwürdig, meint er. Hier der Artikel aus der "Fiji Times":

IT firm will make presentation

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Pacific Connex team will make their presentation at the Native Lands Trust Board meeting on May 16, says interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

He said the company management would have to be informed of this presentation.

"They will be making their presentation at the next board meeting and only then will we be making a decision on what should be done," Ratu Epeli said.

He said the members needed to hear presentations from Pacific Connex and the KPMG team before they made any decisions on the findings by the investigative team.

On Friday, Pacific Connex managing director Ballu Khan said he had not been informed on when to make a presentation to the Native Land Trust Board committee in reaction to a report by KPMG on the board's computer system.

"We have not been formally informed but I think this would be done later," he said.

Mr Khan said the report by KPMG was not credible and tainted.

"I have not sighted the report but there are just questions being asked by the media on what they have read.

"I was not interviewed or my views taken by the investigation team on the matter," he said.

Mr Khan said it was disrespectful for the selective few' who had access to the report to give it out to the media a day before the NLTB board met to discuss it.

"Where is the good governance they are taking about because t he investigation findings have been leaked out," he said.

Ratu Epeli said the report from the two groups conducting investigations was presented at the Fijian Affairs Board meeting last Wednesday.

He said members were briefed on the outcome of the investigations by the two parties. Ratu Epeli shed some light on reasons for the audit.

"The audit has been commissioned because of the growing concerns relating to the management and, what is becoming clear, the misuse of the board's resources and particularly because of the failure of the new IT system to achieve all of its deliverables," said Ratu Epeli.

He said the audit would take about seven weeks to complete and would not only cover the effectiveness of the IT system but also assess the work and the decisions taken by the Board and the management.

"The report of this special audit will be considered by the Board as it comes to hand," said Ratu Epeli.

1. Mail 2007, 20:00

Endlich ist der NLTB-Audit fertig. Hier mal zunächst ein Artikel von "Fiji Live"

Audit finds former NLTB board at fault

Monday April 30, 2007
A special audit of the Native Land Trust Board's information technology systems has revealed that the previous board had failed to investigate and make careful consideration before implementing the mySAP computer system provided by Pacific Connex.

In the report, auditor KPMG suggests that NLTB reconsider doing business between its business arm Vanua Development Corporation Limited and Pacific Connex.

It also questions the credibility of the mySAP computer system.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau said the report will be tabled at the NLTB board meeting in Suva on Wednesday.

Fiji One news meanwhile reports that a summary of the KPMG findings, reveals the NLTB didn't properly investigate the mySAP IT system, it failed to consider other proposals or obtain independent technical and professional advise when deciding to implement the computer system by Pacific Connex.

The auditors found that while the mySAP system is usable, its functionality and data accuracy aren't at par.

Ratu Epeli had earlier stated that the audit was commissioned as a result of the growing concerns relating to the Board's management, the alleged misuse of the Board's resources and the alleged failure of the 'mySAP' IT system to achieve all of its deliveries.

Fijian millionaire Ballu Khan won the tender to install the mySAP system at a cost of $16m in 2004 amidst much opposition from rival bidders.

Khan has questioned the credibility of the report, asking why all stakeholders behind the system, including himself, were not interviewed on the matter by the auditor.

He said that a handful of people are trying to discredit him and the directors of PCX, Keni Dakuidreketi and NLTB General Manager Kalivati Bakani.

Bakani and NLTB Strategic Change Manager Mojito Mua have been sent on leave to allow for an inspection of the organisation's operation.


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