Election campaign

Vijay Maharaj,Sydney, Australia | Thursday, June 8, 2017
When there is any natural disaster in the country eg., a cyclone, flood etc., we have seen religious groups, charitable organisations, NGOs, individuals and even the Government of the day move out to attend and offer assistance in whatever form to the people badly affected by such calamity. This is accepted and appreciated by all.

But I believe when such charity starts pouring in close to election time and without any crisis or catastrophe, then there is cause for suspicion. This trend is common in Fiji and may be happening elsewhere too but I do not have any evidence. Two incidents witnessed by me will always remain in my mind.

Once during the peak campaign period before the election, I visited a close farmer friend of mine in Tailevu North area. I was shown a room which was almost half full with groceries and parcels of clothing. He received all these from three different groups and assured all of them of his support. According to him there were so many in his locality who received such gifts. Now it's up to us to work out how he shared his single vote among three candidates. I believe only Almighty God has the answer.

I believe the leader of SODELPA, Sitiveni Rabuka once pointed out that such handouts only spoil the people. They never try to be independent and stand on their own two feet. Similar views were expressed by few others and recently another learned person Susana Tuisawau also gave her opinion on such handouts.

The second incident which I shall never forget happened in my own neighbourhood. This after the election when I was made an offer to buy a new spade and a fork for $4. I asked the person why was he selling the new garden tools so cheap? His answer was that he was given these free before the election but he had no land, so no use to him. This might remind many of the great "agriculture scam" in our history.

I humbly request our people not to depend on any form of handouts. Be independent, faithful, work hard and always follow what your inner feelings tell you.

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