According to news reports Mr Aiyaz Khaiyum is reported to be justifying his remaining as Minister for Elections while also being General Secretary to the proposed Fiji First Party by claiming that Rabuka in 1999 and Qarase in 2001 and 2006 were also in a similar position.
While it might raise some eyebrows a teensy weensy bit to see Khaiyum justifying his behaviour today by referring to similar behaviour by previously maligned “old politicians”, there are some profound differences, other than age and maturity.
Rabuka and Qarase were lawfully elected Members of Parliament, Ministers and Prime Ministers while Khaiyum holds all his ministerial positions courtesy of Rear Admiral Bainimarama’s illegal military coup and an unelected government.
Rabuka’s and Qarase’s governments annually published all the Auditor General Reports on their respective governments’ revenue collection, expenditure and public debt borrowing, thereby showing their willingness to be accountable to the voters (and taxpayers) of Fiji.
In contrast, Bainimarama and Khaiyum, arrogantly refuse to release the Auditor General Reports, showing their utter contempt for the basic principle of accountability of all Ministers (including the Minister for Elections) to tax-payers for the last eight years (two normal terms of government), and also suggesting to voters with any active brain cells, that this government has a lot to hide.
There is therefore a mountain of difference between an elected accountable Minister of Elections holding a political party position, and an unelected and unaccountable Minister such as Mr Khaiyum.
Even more so when the same Minister for Elections (Khaiyum) is also the source of a totally unreasonable and unpopular Electoral Decree and Constitution, which has been unilaterally imposed on the voters of Fiji, supposedly setting the election rules, but which apparently cannot be applied to Bainimarama’s yet- to-be-registered Party, its yet-to-be-confirmed Party Leader, and yet-to-be-confirmed Secretary General Khaiyum. Khaiyum also has appointed his own personal choice of Supervisor of Elections who does not have the slightest chance of being called “old” anything.
This is like the manager of a street fighter insisting on being the referee of a boxing match with the opponents having to follow all the Queensberry rules set by the manager himself, with the rules not applying to his own street fighter.
Or perhaps a more colourful analogy splashed with lots of red, this situation is comparable to a smooth and suave Count Dracula insisting on being the General Manager of the Blood Bank.
Professor Wadan Narsey