• National Federation Party - Fiji

PM using taxpayers resources to campaign - Abuse of taxpayers funds


July 5, 2022


Instead of setting the standards for transparency and adhering to rules, the Prime Minister has shamelessly demonstrated how FijiFirst will abuse taxpayers funds and government resources to campaign and indulge in fear-mongering.

Voreqe Bainimarama clearly took advantage of the lack of legislation prohibiting all politicians especially ministers from using state resources or non-political platforms, to launch a tirade against his opponents at the Kadavu Provincial Council.

Bainimarama was clearly fear-mongering by saying he was taking off his leadership hat and would talk to delegates as the retired commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. (Fiji Sun page 25th June) The PM clearly deviated from his scripted remarks that were posted on the government website. He also breached the line of separation of powers governing the role of a civilian prime minister and the leader of a political party. Bainimarama has also proven he is still rooted to his military type of dictatorial rule by saying he was talking like a retired commander.

It is therefore hardly surprising that the PM has condoned the campaign of fear and emotional blackmail by two of his ministers at temples because he himself has stooped to gutter-levels. The Prime Minister receives an official vehicle along with accommodation and travel allowances when he travels to these functions — all of which are being for paid by Fijian taxpayers.

The Prime Minister used this event to stoke fear by talking about GCC and invoking claims it caused racial division. He has used other provincial councils to brag about achievements and the Bainimarama Boom.

Bainimarama and his ministers don’t care if they abuse taxpayers funds to campaign because the Electoral Act only prohibits the use of government vehicles to attend political events. So they use functions and events paid for by public funds and state resources to stoke fear, make illogical claims and renew false promises.

And if and when the Writs for Elections are issued, on majority of the 44 days until elections the FijiFirst ministers will form a conga line under the pretext of ensuring the objectives and initiatives of the 2022-23 Budget are met.

And this will include traveling around the country in dark-tinted Prados and giving out grants describing them as social wages to ensure no one is left behind when in fact it will be a vote-buying exercise.

Already the Commerce Minister, who in 2018 was at the forefront of the conga line that time, has started making false promises while on official duties that Seaqaqa and Nabouwalu will be declared towns.

This is a repeat of a similar promise made in 2018, which also was an election year.

People are reeling from sky-rocketing prices of basic food, essential items, fuel and medicine. Families are struggling to put food on the table for their children. Our public medical and health care delivery is in shambles because of lack of and breakdown of equipment.

But Voreqe Bainimarama shamelessly leads a conga line of ministers abusing taxpayers funds to spread fear, make false promises and practice gutter-level politics.

That is why they need to be booted out by the people at the ballot booths.

Professor Biman Prasad Leader