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By MAIKA BOLATIKI
Debate over immunity or no immunity will not stop coups in the country.
This was the response of the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, to Rewa chief, and Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa’s submission to the Constitution Commission.
“Anyone from the military can carry out another coup, abrogate the constitution and start all over again,” the Prime Minister said.
He stressed the real answer is the following: “An inclusive constitution, a document that really takes into consideration what the people need will stop the coup and that is what the Government is working on now.”
The Prime Minister clarified that the reason why immunity was not given to the 2000 coup leader George Speight and his group was because they failed.
“Mr Speight and his group only brought destruction to the country.”
Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama said for the province of Rewa to come up with this submission proved that they were very much aligned to the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL). Ro Teimumu was a prominent member of the ousted SDL Government of Laisenia Qarase.
The Prime Minister said the 2006 military takeover was totally different from the 2000 coup.
It was successful because it stopped corruption and put in place policies that people benefitted from.
Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama said the immunity now in place provided consistency, validation and work towards the 2014 election.
“The immunity is in place to see the smooth running of the country and the people are enjoying it.”
The way forward after 2006 is in the People’s Charter and the whole of Fiji supported it except Rewa.
“We want to put in a new constitution that will replace the People’s Charter.”
The Prime Minister has called on the people of Rewa to make their own submissions and not to give it to others who have political allegiance with other parties.
“I must admit,” he said” that the presentation made by Ro Teimumu “is part of the SDL proposal.”
He reminded all that the 1997 constitution would not be reinstated because it was a discriminatory document and not good for Fiji.
For those wanting the 1997 Constitution to be reinstated, the Prime Minister had urged them to come up with something that would be good for the people.
In her presentation Ro Teimumu strongly opposed the granting of amnesty to those involved in the military takeover of 2006.
In presenting the Vanua o Rewa’s submission the Rewa high chief said substantive steps should be taken to end, once and for all, the coup culture in Fiji.
Ro Teimumu said just as amnesty was denied to the perpetrators of the 2000 coup, so should it be denied to those involved in the 2006 takeover and any person planning similar activities at any time in the future.
“We, the people of Rewa, are sick and tired of coups and it has resulted in abject poverty and the denial of opportunities and it has brought about arrogance and the dismissal of rights and privileges,” she said.