June 09, 2009

Iloilo's naked thirst for power

Fiji's 'naked emperor'
By Michael Field

An Auckland legal expert claims Fiji is now being led by a “naked emperor” who has no authority to be president.

Auckland QC Grant Illingworth, writing in the Auckland District Law Society’s LawNews, has been critical of Fiji’s de facto president, Josefa Iloilo.

Mr Illingworth said that at Easter dictator Voreqe Bainimarama overthrew the constitution, which saw Iloilo lose his job and presidency.

Iloilo then re-appointed himself as president, despite having no authority to do so.

“We learn at a young age that hauling ourselves up by our own bootstraps makes us no taller,” Mr Illingworth said.

“For Iloilo it may well have had the reverse effect: he lost his official status and was reduced to being a mere usurper, an unlawful pretender to the throne.

“And in claiming to be clothed with a new form of self-invented authority, Mr Iloilo made the same foolish mistake as the naked emperor in Hans Christian Anderson’s famous fairy tale.”

He said the army, police and civil servants of Fiji had not realised “the emperor has no clothes”.

Mr Illingworth added: “But a warning is needed: if the populace give their tacit support to the usurper, there is a danger that they may eventually be taken to have clothed him with their approval.”

That, he said, would be a tragedy for Fiji.

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