The strut has gone out of Mohammed Saneem as he comes under increasing attack over his heavy-handed conduct towards the political parties (“Too Much Power”, says today’s Fiji Times), the humiliation of his failed court case to unseat the SODELPA MP, Niko Nawaikula, and his secret complaint to the Judicial Services Commission that has seen Saneem blame Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma for that failure and triggered Sharma’s suspension.
Saneem is looking increasingly harassed, as well he might. Because the clock is ticking towards the Tribunal hearing that will determine whether his complaint against the SG is upheld or whether the judges on the panel exonerate Sharma and Saneem’s complaint is dismissed. In other words, the stark prospect of humiliation piled on humiliation.
Yet even before the Tribunal sits, the Registrar of Political Parties and Supervisor of Elections finds himself under attack in a joint report by the Swedish-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and Dialogue Fiji, which says that Saneem has too much legal power to impose sanctions on political parties such as suspension or de-registration.
Rather than accept what to most observers is the bleeding obvious, the Wonder Boy from Labasa has gone on the offensive and is threatening to sever ties with IDEA. (See the accompanying FBC story). Yet this is just the latest in a series of blunders by the Attorney General’s house elf that have undermined his credibility at the highest levels. Certainly his lack of judgment in putting on the gloves every time someone offends his overblown ego has convinced many of his glaring unsuitability to ever achieve his ambition of eventually becoming a judge.
Time is ticking for Saneem and it is perhaps no surprise that he has been looking for another job. Because his complaint to the Judicial Services Commission about the Solicitor General is extremely high risk. Leaving aside the dismay of other officers of state at the precedent that has been set and the fear that they could suffer the same fate, Saneem has bet all that the Tribunal will uphold his complaint. And if it doesn’t, the whole episode threatens to engulf his reputation and that of his patron, the AG, in an almighty bonfire of the vanities.