What is there to celebrate?
What is there to celebrate about the 2013 Constitution when fear pervades throughout the country with ordinary Fijians afraid to openly express their views?
And it is despicable that a few ministers of the Fiji First Government claim that because of the 2013 Constitution, devotees can freely worship and gather at temples when the fact of the matter is that places of worship were established by our forefathers, most of them when Fiji was under Colonial rule.
In 2013 the Bainimarama Military Government imposed the 2013 constitution on the country by force. Do not forget - it suppressed and literally set on fire the draft constitution prepared by the Ghai Constitutional Commission, which asked the people about the laws they wanted.
A constitution is supposed to protect the human rights of citizens. This Constitution instead protects military government decrees ahead of human rights. And the Fiji First Government even tramples over the rights we have left.
It passes almost all its laws in Parliament under urgency, without consultation or debate. Laws such as Bill 17, changes to the Electoral Act and the Media Industry Development Act appear from nowhere. The Constitution is supposed to ensure social rights such as health and education when instead both these sectors are in a state of decay, collapse and demoralization.
People are afraid to exercise their rights of expression, association or political rights. Opposition parties are repeatedly harassed and investigated while Fiji First does what it wants, funded by millions of dollars in donations from the rich.
Fiji is at a real turning point now. The Fiji First Government cares about no one and nothing except itself. It is prepared to walk all over and take away our democratic rights just so that it can stay in power. If it is re-elected we will continue to lose those democratic rights we have left.
The only real right left to citizens is to vote. We must, when we have the opportunity, do what is necessary to exercise it. We must rid Fiji of the Fiji First Government.
Professor Biman Prasad Leader