I have decided to support the National Federation Party for the next General Election. I have done so after serious discussions with friends, well-wishers and some members of the public.
My support does not mean that I am personally standing for the election. I am not. I am also not a member of the NFP and do not intend to be a member of any political party.
My support for the NFP is based on some reasoned conclusions, I have arrived at on the political situation which exists at present.
I see the development of extremist views emerging from all fronts. Views that are likely to override the sensitivities of the various communities that make up Fiji. This can cause sharp political divisions likely to overflow in the day to day social interaction of the Fijian people.
In my view, there has to be a ‘third force’ mitigating against extremism. I am not talking about extremism creating rifts in the social cohesion of the Fiji society but about political parties offering unsustainable extremist policies designed to gain power at any cost. Extreme, wild, vote catching posturing or reactionary measures, not clearly thought-out, can be dangerous for the economy. The trend is pointing in this direction.
The NFP, of all other party political aspirants, provides the best option to provide a mediating platform. A party that can focus on economic development and social cohesion. A party that is welfare oriented with a clear focus on providing welfare facilities and systems. A party that promises to build on the gains by all previous governments and to do so without ill will and rancour.
There is considerable work to be done in building genuine democracy, creating an enabling environment conducive to the growth of a culture of democracy in all facets of life and living. With each coup in the past, we have kept sliding back. A complete reform is needed. We have spent near enough time and resources in building infrastructure of roads, water, electricity, etc. There has to be parallel developments in creating the infrastructure of democracy – in building democratic ethos, in schools, decision making bodies in government and in socio-political institutions. Only these structures will sustain long term existence of economic and social gains made since independence.
My advice to the NFP is to keep clear of the two major political parties, the Fiji First and SODELPA. NFP should campaign on its own, with its arms open for all other smaller parties to join in to maximise its support base. On the basis of declared positions so far, the non-parliamentary parties do not seem to hold views that the NFP does not, or cannot, espouse.
The smaller parties, still grappling for support, should negotiate a mechanism that can allow them to fight under the NFP banner but retain their special characteristics, if they have any.
My advice, therefore, is for NFP to gather support either directly or jointly to create a ‘third force’ which will push the major parties to moderate their own platforms.
NFP should be in a place to hold, at least, the “Balance of Power,” if not an outright majority. Both major parties could be forced to espouse moderate, transparent and socially just policies if they expect to form next government with NFP support.
Already, in my assessment, NFP support is increasing day by day. It has an impressive mix of multicultural, multi-gender mix of candidates. Particularly impressive is NFP’s list of young candidates willing to take part in the politics of the future. This heralds a positive and a bright future for Fiji. NFP is the party of the future.