Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Fiji: Intimidating democracy

Fiji will be holding elections in three months to return the country to democratic government. But the military is clearly worried that their candidate - dictator Voreqe Bainimarama - might not win. So they'll be sending soldiers to political meetings to "monitor" them:

Fiji's military chief Mosese Tikoitoga says military officers will attend political gatherings as the military needs to be informed of political parties' manifestos.

The explanation doesn't wash. party manifestos get published, and parties campaign on their contents. If the military wants to know what's in them - something a democratic military has no legitimate interest in, I might add - then all they need to do is read the papers. Sending soldiers has only one purpose: to intimidate the opposition, and make an implicit threat of another coup if the "wrong" party wins.