As the Fiji Times says, all eyes are now on the Prime Minister to see whether he will reinstate Aseri Radrodro – in other words, abandon principle and throw another lifeline to the man who almost killed his daughter and put him back in charge of the education of the nation’s young people.
It isn’t enough that Aseri Radrodro is all over the international media for his steamy affair with Lynda Tabuya in which both of them lied to Sitiveni Rabuka and he lied to the nation. To keep the tattered Coalition together, the Prime Minister is actually in the throes of deciding whether to have Radrodro back on the front bench as Education Minister, though his pants are on fire about the details.
Just look at the reports in today’s two dailies. Asked in the Fiji Times about SODELPA’s resolution to request the reinstatement of Aseri Rasdrodro as Minister for Education after Rabuka sacked him for disobedience and insubordination, the Prime Minister says: “What resolution? I didn’t even know there was a meeting? Nothing has reached my office yet”. Er, come again?
Then turn to the Fiji Sun and we learn that Sitiveni Rabuka spent half an hour yesterday afternoon in his office with the SODELPA leader, Viliame “Blinky Bill” Gavoka, discussing the SODELPA resolution and presumably thrashing out the details of what happens next. As the Fiji Sun tells it, putting Radrodro back is almost a done deal.
So which is it? Who knows? But you can’t be a credible leader and give the nation two vastly different narratives about such an important decision. Is it an inability to be straight with the Fijian people or is the Prime Minister genuinely going gaga?
Take a look at yesterday’s story in which Sitiveni Rabuka said he didn’t know why certain appointments weren’t being made by the Constitutional Officers Commission. “I don’t know why it is taking so long”, he grumbles. For God’s sake, man, you are the Chair of the COC! And if you don’t know what’s going on there, who does?
And is the root of this entire debacle of Aseri Radrodro’s sacking – the alleged “communication lapses” that convinced the PM that he was being disobedient when his supporters say he wasn’t – due to Rabuka’s cognitive lapses? That he is no longer in a fit mental state to preside over the day to day business of government?
Is the chronic chaos in the Coalition government and the Prime Minister’s erratic conduct occurring because he really is suffering from dementia? That’s the shocking conclusion that some people have reached at the top of government and in the People’s Alliance because this kind of thing is becoming more and more frequent.
Whether it is mendacity or a medical condition, the Prime Minister is fast becoming an empty shell mentally and the national interest demands that he be replaced. Any leader with a sound mind would realise that removing a minister twice and then being forced to reinstate him is a humiliation that renders his position untenable. So if the PM really is forced into a backdown and Aseri Radrodro strides back into the Education Ministry wearing his sleazy grin, Sitiveni Rabuka must go for the government to retain any credibility with the electorate. .
Seriously. What other democracy in the world has a Minister for Education who is a domestic violence abuser, is embroiled in a sex scandal with the Minister for Children, lied about it yet is still given the job of handing out prizes to the nation’s kids and delivering homilies on how they should behave? As a role model for our kids, Aseri Radrodro is a disaster. For Fiji’s global image, he is an acute embarrassment.
With all its challenges – an unstable government, an uncertain economic outlook, crime, drugs and renewed ethnic tension – Fiji needs a safe pair of hands. Judging from today’s front pages, what we have instead is someone whose faculties and judgment are fading. And for his own good and more importantly the good of the nation, the Prime Minister should resign and make way for Manoa Kamikamica before his colleagues have no choice but to tap him on the shoulder and show him the door.