Transparency International Fiji is seriously concerned at the state of the country and the volley of exchanges between political and community leaders in the past months increasing recently with the release of the draft People’s Charter. These actions have led to the deliberate corruption of ideas to win people’s heart to one’s own way of thinking. For the sake of our country and its people Transparency International Fiji calls on the interim government and all political leaders to put Fiji and its disenfranchised, peaceful, and suffering people first and come together in a constructive dialogue. There is no other way but to return to rule by the people for the people. Any further political posturing that delays a dialogue leading directly to elections in the shortest possible time is unacceptable. Transparency in intentions and sincerity in dialogue are the imperatives called for.
Good leadership particularly at this time requires commitment to transparent thinking and decision-making based on a strong sense of accountability which respects the right of the people to information for decisions on matters that affect their lives.
Our country was forced to accept a change of government with the promise that our leadership will be corruption-free and our governance system recognize ethnic equality. But we know that power corrupts even the most well-intentioned men and women. We also know that in our small society with wide networks of extended families, nepotism can be rife and inadvertently favour certain ethnic groups through social relations.
The interim government has yet to show us that it has the political will and created the means to break with corruption. It has yet to show not only that it has indeed cleansed the country of these unjust practices but also that it has discontinued corrupt practices. The interim government began its term on 5th December, 2006, with a promise of just and good governance that gives priority to the needs of the vulnerable and the poor in our society.
The country has waited with patience and in vain for the expected outcome. Some good people have even been prepared to ignore the possible illegality of the take over in order to help correct unjust conditions that affected the less fortunate of our society. Has the end justified the means?
Having suffered four coups since 1987, the people of Fiji deserve leadership that is transparent, accountable and sincerely for the common good. While it is unrealistic to expect all leaders to rise above self interest, at least the process of democracy provides opportunities for people to select such rare individuals and lend them credibility in leadership. Our current situation requires no less. We need transformational leadership that transcends self interests and petty squabbles and makes reconciliation possible.
Chair, Transparency International Fiji
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