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Rabuka coup sent Fiji back by two decades says acting PM

May 14, 2018 3:02 am

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says today marks a sad day of reality for Fiji, as on this day in 1987, current SODELPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, carried out the first coup in the country.

While today is also the day when 139 years ago, the first indentured laborers arrived into the country from India, the events of 1987, is also regarded as one of the darkest days in Fiji’s history.

The Rabuka coup saw him over throw the Labor/NFP Coalition government of the then Prime Minister, the late, Timoci Bavadra.

Sayed-Khaiyum, while delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament today, says the coup by Rabuka was one of the most disastrous political era in Fiji.

“There is footage of Indo-Fijians crawling under cars to avoid being attacked as violence across the country spread. Racial violence, attacks, some organized, some random, some opportunistic. It was hell on earth, it was chaos. And anyone who lived through that time can tell you what happened. That coup wasn’t some momentary impassionate action. It was in fact an intentional attack on preserving the position of the elite.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says many people were treated as second class citizens in their own country.

“Because of that coup innocent people were taken hostage, beaten and threatened for their lives.”

He also went on to say while Rabuka had shown regret for the doings of 1987, it was something that did not do much to fix the wounds of the country.

This also included people being terminated from their positions and victimized due to their ethnic backgrounds and also caused Fiji falling two decades behind the rest of the world.

“His regret for these actions is not enough. His regret alone cannot fix the damage he caused to our nation. 20 years this nation was stalled in its development, the families that were broken apart as Fijians fled the country and the blood was shed because of his personal political mission. His regret does not fix Fiji.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says Rabuka has continued to talk about racial divide as he does not believe in common and equal citizenry.

In response, SODELPA parliamentary leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says they did not want to speak about the coups as this was something that the Fiji First government should not have brought up and only concentrated on the indentured laborers.