Fiji First campaign banner on Suva City Council building smacks of Collusion
There is clear collusion between the Fiji First Party and the Suva City Council following the illegal placement of FFP campaign banner on the Council’s public carpark and curio handicraft centre in what was a blatant contravention of the Electoral Act by both parties
It is laughable that Fiji First has described this breach as “unfortunate and an inadvertent error by the party’s media team”. Fiji First is fooling no one except itself by making this ridiculous claim in its defence of its shameful conduct.
The banner was authorised by Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his capacity as general secretary of Fiji First. It breached both placement restrictions, disallowing political parties from using public buildings as campaign platform, as well as didn’t display “paid political/electoral advertisement”.
Do Fiji First expect us to believe that the party’s so-called media team decided overnight to place what has been the largest banner in terms of size on the Suva City Council public building and use Sayed-Khaiyum’s authorisation without his knowledge and approval?
Who did the so-called Fiji First media team liaise with in the City Council Administration and Executive Management to get approval for the placement of the banner?
Who gave the go-ahead to the advertising company to take exact measurements, print and place the banner?
Surely, these were not overnight decisions or an inadvertent error because taking approval, measurement, printing and placement of the banner is a major logistical exercise.
Even if for argument’s sake one believes Fiji First’s explanation, why did the City Council Administration and Executive Management allow the ruling party to place the banner? Didn’t SCC know that public buildings must not be used as a campaign platform.
It couldn’t have been a junior officer who gave the approval. Because we know that even to display a banner across a street or road within the SCC boundary or for that matter any other municipality is not a simple process and requires supplying of the banner to SCC for its workers to hang it across a street.
Further, SCC has a Properties Manager. What was his role in the committal of this blatant breach?
These are issues that the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) must investigate.
This is a matter that shouldn’t end with the removal of the banner because clearly there was collusion between the ruling Fiji First Party and its controlled and un-elected Suva City Council.
Leba Seni Nabou General Secretary