July 27, 2012

Issue of immunity in new constitution should be fully discussed-Ratu Joni

Publish date/time: 27/07/2012 [10:11]

Former Vice President and Bau High Chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi believes that the issue of immunity in the new constitution should be fully discussed.

While speaking to participants of the CCF Forum on Bringing Fiji Together - Addressing Inclusivity in Constitution-Making, Ratu Joni believes this would be the best way forward as there were no discussions when immunity provisions were included in the 1990 and 1997 constitutions for the perpetrators of the coups of 1987. 

When questioned by Fijivillage on whether he believes immunity is also part of the process to move forward, Ratu Joni said it is understandable that the government would want immunity to be covered.

Meanwhile Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum questions how Ratu Joni can raise concern about immunity for 2006 when immunity was included in the 1990 and 1997 constitutions.

Sayed-Khaiyum said Ratu Joni even accepted the Vice President's position under the 1997 constitution.

He also stressed that people making submissions can talk to the Constitutional Commission about what has happened in the past however immunity is a non-negotiable provision.

Meanwhile Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi said inter ethnic relations in the country have been better than they ever were.

He said although more work needs to be done, some of the issues like current government policies and the increase in the itaukei population has resulted in changes already.

Ratu Joni also said more work needs to be done to educate people on civic beliefs and he said great courage and wisdom is needed to ensure that everyone moves together as one nation.

He said there was hope that the electoral system in the 1997 constitution was a system in transition and in a short period of time parliamentarians would be elected on the basis of one vote one value.

However Ratu Joni said prior to December 2006, none of the politicians had said that there should be a change in the electoral system.

He said the focus should be on building a national identity and social cohesion.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

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