It may seem that Grubsheet is spending far too much time on the performance of CJ Patel’s Fiji Sun but that is only because the newspaper is so shameless in its propaganda in favour of the man who controls it – the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Once again, the AG’s manservant, the white haired Sage from Rewa, Nemani Delaibatiki, spins the latest Fiji Sun-Western Force opinion poll in the AG’s favour when there is no justification whatsoever for doing so on any examination of the poll itself.
The front page banner carries a photograph of the AG with the headline “AG’s strength shows in effectiveness, concern for other ministers”, which makes it seem as if Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is both effective and is concerned for other ministers. But when Fiji Sun readers turn to the actual opinion poll results on pages 2 and 3, an entirely different picture emerges. To the question: “Who is the most effective minister, apart from the Prime Minister”, most Fijians questioned answered “None”. In fact, well over a third of Fijians – 36.2 per cent – think no-one in the FijiFirst Ministry is any good. The AG scored 22.6 per cent for effectiveness but that means he has the endorsement of just over one in five voters, hardly the “strength” the Fiji Sun trumpets on its front page.
And to the question “who would you like to see as the next prime minister”, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum scores exactly the same percentage – 9 per cent – as his bitter opponent, the National Federation leader, Biman Prasad. Hardly a “strength” either. 34 per cent of those questioned favour the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, 31 per cent favour the SODEPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka and the AG and Biman Prasad tie for third place. They are followed by Savenaca Narube on 7 per cent, a surprisingly strong showing for the Unity Party leader, who currently has no seats in the Parliament but whose growing public profile has propelled him into the top five.
On the question of who those questioned think will win the next election, the majority, 43 per cent, nominate FijiFirst, a reversal of last month’s poll which put SODELPA ahead. Yet the Fiji First lead is only 7 per cent-age points, with SODELPA on 36 per cent, the NFP on 10 per cent, Unity Fiji on 8 per cent and the Fiji Labour Party on 3 per cent, a fall in support for Labour over the past month.
So what is the genuine takeout from the CJ Patel Fiji Sun-Western Force poll as opposed to the spin of the AG’s manservant, Nemani Delaibatiki? That the combined vote of the opposition – SODELPA and the NFP – is 46 per cent, three points ahead of FijiFirst. Which if replicated at an election, would allow the opposition to defeat FijiFirst were they to govern in coalition.
When will the CJ Patel Fiji Sun stop flogging the dead horse of its patron, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and start reporting the facts? If only one in five Fijian voters think he is effective, it is hardly a resounding endorsement and certainly not the “strength” that the Beijing Sun proclaims. And if he is tied with Biman Prasad as preferred prime minister, God help FijiFirst if Frank Bainimarama ever goes face-first into his Sunday dinner. Because on those figures, the AG as leader wouldn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of dragging the other Fijifirst candidates across the line under the d’hondt system and SODELPA would romp home to victory in a landslide on Sitiveni Rabuka’s coat-tails.
That’s the God honest truth but you won’t ever read it in the CJ Patel Beijing Sun.
Next time: The unhinged Kishore Kumar: With friends like this, who needs enemies?