FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [left] and National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad
FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has hit out at National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad for undermining the 2013 Constitution.
In his Constitution Day public holiday message, Professor Prasad had posted on his Party’s official Facebook page, questioning ‘what is there to celebrate about the 2013 Constitution when fear pervades throughout the country with ordinary Fijians afraid to openly express their views’.
He further stated that it is despicable that a few ministers of the FijiFirst Government claim that because of the 2013 Constitution, devotees can freely worship and gather at temples when the fact of the matter is that places of worship were established by our forefathers, most of them when Fiji was under Colonial rule.
In response Sayed-Khaiyum states that if it weren’t for the 2013 Constitution, NFP would not be in Parliament.
“In 1999, they received more than 20 percent of the overall votes cast but they did not get a single seat in Parliament. They got one that was in dispute. Today in 2014, they received just over five percent of votes and got three seats in Parliament. In the 2018 election, they got just over seven percent of votes and got three seats in Parliament.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says many supporters of NFP have stated that the Constitution offers what the Party always wanted under previous leaders.
“It’s the only Constitution that precisely gives what the founders of NFP wanted. One person, one vote, one value. No ethnic considerations as far as constituencies are concerned. Everybody is a Fijian. This is precisely what AD Patel wanted. This is precisely what Siddiq Koya wanted. This is precisely what James Madhavan wanted. These were the founders of NFP. And this man who claims to be the leader of NFP has the audacity to challenge these great leaders by saying that he does not support the 2013 Constitution.”
He adds when elected into Parliament, the NFP Leader took an oath to uphold the Constitution.
“But what is really the most telling point for him, Honourable Tuisawau, both of them held their holy scripture in their hand and swore an oath to uphold the Constitution when they got sworn into Parliament. What does that tell you about the individual human being, who picks up their holy scripture and says I swear to uphold this Constitution and then in the next breath, challenge the very Constitution which they held up by holding it in one hand? What does that tell you about an individual? What level of integrity do they have?”
Sayed-Khaiyum says the 2013 Constitution gives people common and equal citizenry, a common name, socioeconomic rights, and an electoral system where people come together as a nation.
He further states that it also ensures that there are more women in Parliament than ever before.