The selective nature of the Coalition government’s adherence to the 2013 Constitution screams from the Prime Minister’s latest statement on his dismissal of Aseri Radroro – defying the Constitution with its illegal appointments one minute and insisting that the supreme law be obeyed the next.
Sitiveni Rabuka uses the Constitution as a central reason why he was justified in sacking the Minister for Education, at one point in the statement emphasising the supremacy of the Constitution over SODELPA’s Constitution and actually referring to it as the “supreme law”.
QUOTE: “I want to make it clear that the instruction by the SODELPA Working Committee (to remain in the Ministry of Education until next Friday) is in defiance of the powers conferred on the Prime Minister under section 95 (3) (a) of the Constitution”.
QUOTE: “Political Party by-laws are made under the Political Parties Act. The Act requires that Parties and their officials must comply with Fiji’s Constitution”.
QUOTE: “The Constitution guides my actions and I remain committed to upholding its principles”.
QUOTE: “section 95 of the Constitution is very clear on the powers of the Prime Minister to appoint and dismiss Cabinet Ministers. It is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister”.
QUOTE: As we move forward, I urge all parties involved to conduct themselves with respect for due process and the rule of law”.
As political inconsistencies go, the statement below is a doozy. Because when it suits the Prime Minister and his government, the Constitution is simply disregarded.
The Fiji Law Society has asked him to reverse the illegal appointments of John Rabuku as Acting DPP and Alipate Qetaki as Supreme Court judge because they contravene the constitutional provision banning them from holding those positions after they were found guilty of professional misconduct. That request has been ignored.
The Coalition government also continues to ignore the Constitutional stipulation that it set up judicial tribunals to investigate the allegations of misbehaviour against the suspended DPP, Christopher Pryde, and the suspended Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho.
Yet when it suits him, the Prime Minister reaches for the 2013 Constitution – a document the government otherwise doesn’t acknowledge as legitimate – to justify his actions.
It is hypocrisy of the worst kind – a Prime Minister donning the mantle of the supreme law one moment and trashing it the next.
“The Constitution guides my action and I remain committed to upholding its principles”. Yeah right. Only when it suits, Siti. Pull the other one.
You are either a prize hypocrite or you are too lamu to rein in the group known in legal circles as the “Toxic Trio” – the Attorney General, Siromi Turaga, the Solicitor General, Ropate Green Lomavatu, and the Acting Chief Justice, Salesi Temo.
Which is it, Prime Minister? Because if you are to be remotely consistent, you need to instruct the Toxic Trio to be committed – as you claim to be – to upholding the principles of the Constitution and if they defy you, you should begin the constitutional processes to remove them.
To follow is the Prime Minister’s full statement and the SODELPA statement to which he was responding.
All eyes are now on whether Aseri Radrodro will defy the Prime Minister and turn up for work at the Ministry of Education on Monday morning. If he does and the supreme law means anything, he should be arrested.