Thursday, September 12, 2013

New archbishop talkin' politics

from w
How come the leader of the Catholic church in Fiji can speak about Fiji politics and the Methodist church cannot?  Reported in both Fiji Times and elsewhere, this item from the Fiji Times summarises a speech by Archbishop Chong.  Of course we really need to read the whole document.  And here it is:

No place for patron-client politics

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, September 13, 2013
PATRON-CLIENT politics has caused division in Fiji by favouring ethnic communities within society.
In his opening remarks at the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) Pacific Symposium, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong defined patron-client politics as the form of power of mainstream iTaukei political establishment.
"This breeds the coup culture and the loss of democracy," Archbishop Chong said.
He told leaders of various church groups that to resolve Fiji's coup culture and facilitate the path towards democracy; politicians and political institutions must go beyond patron-client politics.
The symposium, he said, was to inspire faith-based leaders in developing a collective call for parliamentary democracy. Archbishop Chong contended that without the displacement of patron-client politics there would be little hope of building a democratic Fiji.
"The patron politics must be eradicated."
He said the question of how Fiji moved beyond patron-client politics was the central question beneath Fiji's coup culture.
"Hence I posit that for the church to be faithful to its mission and be relevant to its missionary context, namely Fiji's coup culture she must respond effectively to cultural awareness, conscientisation, civic education and empowerment."
He stressed to the church leaders that their key messages should include the removal of patron-client politics and the education and empowerment of people so that they could participate responsibly in the political affairs of the country.

1 comment:

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Kotobalavu takes on Archbishop Chong's neo-Marxist-oriented patron-client conceptual interpretation of Fiji’s recent political history:

The Editor
Fiji Sun


You carried a report [F/S Sept. 14] on the keynote address by Archbishop Peter Loy Chong at the WACC symposium on democracy.

I have read the full text of his presentation. He was obviously drawing from his doctoral thesis on the coups in Fiji and it was plain to see his neo-Marxist-oriented patron-client conceptual interpretation of Fiji’s recent political history.

I commend him for his sincere commitment to peace, unity and democracy. I have to say though that it was most disappointing to note his sweeping subjective judgmental statement in which he referred to “a corrupted and racist Qarase government”.

It is unworthy of a learned scholar to make this kind of loaded statement without authoritative evidence.

Mr Qarase’s government after the 2006 general elections was a multi-party government, the first in Fiji’s history, and it was in full conformity with the 1997 Constitution, Fiji’s supreme law, and with the liberal democratic principle of majority rule.

The present government has maintained the separate i-Taukei government scholarship scheme and it has gone a step further than the Qarase-led muli-party government by enshrining in the new Constitution’s Bill of Rights the rights of the i-Taukei to their customary land and traditional fisheries. Dare he say that this government is racist?

The Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs has in its archives files containing more than three hundred petitions from various landowning mataqalis lamenting what they felt deep in their hearts were unconscionable dealings involving non-i-Taukei through which they were deprived of their ancestral land.

In proposing the establishment of a dedicated land claims tribunal, all that the Qarase government was trying to do was to provide an easily-accessible avenue and specialist court above the Native Lands Commission where these aggrieved mataqalis could be given the opportunity to be heard.

In the common law, which alongside statutes is a source of law in Fiji, the right of an adversely affected person to be heard is a fundamental principle of basic justice.

And if Dr Chong has evidence of corruption by the Qarase government it is the duty of every citizen to submit this to FICAC.

It is very sad to form the impression, quite unfairly I admit, that he has fallen into that siege mentality and me-the-victim mindset which categorizes as racist and corrupt anything that is done, within the law and with salutary intentions as public policy, to uplift the economic and social living conditions and opportunities of the i-Taukei in order to bring them closer to the standard and quality of life that other communities enjoy.

I make the above secular observations with the deepest of respect to Dr Chong both as the head of Fiji’s Roman Catholic community and as a scholar.

Jioji Kotobalavu