Yet another Cabinet row within three months, is creating a crisis of confidence in the Government, says former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
The Fiji Labour Party Leader in a statement said last September the failed Cabinet reshuffle forced the Prime Minister to back off and this time he has armed himself well with the PM’s powers under the Constitution.
He said while the Prime Minister does have the prerogative to hire and fire his ministers, he must also concede that he presides over a fragile coalition arrangement and must deal cautiously with situations that arise.
“Quite apart from the case surrounding the sacking of Education Minister Aseri Radrodro, the concern is Mr Rabuka’s critical lack of consistency in adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law.”
“He cites the constitution to justify his actions in this case but has ignored it completely when it did not suit him.”
“We refer to the worrying disregard by the authorities to constitutional provisions when making appointments to senior positions in the legal and judicial services of persons who are disqualified.”
Chaudhry said the rule of law should be adhered to at all times and the Government must not allow political considerations to override constitutional provisions.
“Just last week the Prime Minister told the media that two of his Cabinet Ministers were under investigation by FICAC for corruption.”
“He did not name them but due process in such cases requires that the ministers be suspended pending investigation. Why has the Prime Minister not done so? Isn’t it acase of setting double standards?
“Such glaring inconsistencies undermine the rules of good governance and reflect poorly on the Prime Minister’s own credibility and integrity.”
“Now we hear a complaint has been filed against yet another minister with the disciplinary committee of the Peoples Alliance.”
“The people wanted a change when they voted this Government into office. There is acute disillusionment that the Coalition is treading the same path as the Fiji First Government, if not worse: the lack of accountability and transparency, failure to enact code of conduct for ministers and others holding high public office, ignoring provisions of the constitution; worrying signs of nepotism and cronyism in the allocation of public funds and now reports are surfacing of institutionalized racism in some quarters of Government.”
“Ministers have been enriching themselves and enjoying the perks of office while the rest of the nation is condemned to low wages, high costs of living and the additional burden of a 15% VAT on all goods and services.”
“It appears that our people have been duped again,” he further stated.