Auckland, October 10, 2018
The forthcoming general election places Fiji on the crossroads of democracy and the choice of the people will define the country’s future, President Major General (Retired) Jioji Konusi Konrote has said.
In an address to the Nation which marks the 48th Year of Independence this morning, he said that the quadrennial election can shape the direction of the country for several years into the future.
“So the importance of our elections cannot be overstated, and, as was the case in 2014, our election will be held in a transparent manner and to the highest international standards.
“It is not a time for fear, and none of us can tolerate any efforts to sow hatred or division among our people. It is a time for truth, not for lies that damage our economy and degrade our unity; the very fabric of our national life.”
Mr Konrote said that regardless of political differences, the bond of nationhood and common citizenry must always triumph.
“That must also hold true on social media. We cannot allow social media platforms to be used as a weapon to spread lies and misinformation, we must think carefully about what we are seeing and reading, and call out lies when we see them, for the benefit of our democracy and our fellow Fijians,” he said.
Following is an extract of Mr Konrote’s Address, not in the order given.
Vote the Best
It is a time to listen to all of the positions of the different political parties. It is a time for all of us to make our voices heard by voting for the political party we believe is the best suited to take Fiji forward; based on their record, based on the promises they have made and, on their ability to deliver on those promises for the Fijian people.
There will be many disagreements and debates in the coming weeks. But I know we can agree that Fiji’s success in recent years is owed to the fact that Fijians are finally participating equally in our nation’s progress, and benefitting equally from our national prosperity.
We are moving forward, together. We are making history, together. We are leading the world to solve great challenges, together.
And we are driving the next Fijian century of exceptionalism and achievement, together. And only, together, can our success continue.
Reaffirmation of love and respect
This Fiji Day, as we gather in celebration, let us all reaffirm the love we hold for those who are dear to us, all of the members of our families, and our communities, and to our larger Fijian family that stretches all across the world. Including to our brave peacekeepers who are serving in conflict areas in regions torn apart by strife and violence. Let us all keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers and give gratitude for their strength and sacrifice.
As we celebrate this Fiji Day, we do so as proud daughters and sons of a united nation. We do so as common and equal citizens, in a genuine parliamentary democracy.
And we do so from a position of strength and success unrivalled in the 48 years of our independent history; a nation that is finally fulfilling its destiny.
A nation on a path to greatness. A nation that stands firmly on a foundation of security and stability, and a nation that is headed towards an even brighter tomorrow; one that holds promise for all of our people, and all those who come after us.
Pride and Optimism
Every year I have watched with ever-increasing pride and optimism as our nation has reached new and greater heights; realising achievement that only a generation ago would have seemed unimaginable.
There have been challenges, surely. But with every setback we have encountered, together, Team Fiji has overcome. Every opportunity in front of us, we have seized for our benefit. And like any good team, every member of Team Fiji has been key to our victories and has shared equally in our successes.
This year again, we have witnessed even greater, unprecedented prosperity sweep across the country, bringing us our ninth consecutive year of economic growth, bringing us new jobs that have brought unemployment to its lowest point in decades, and bringing us new opportunities that have entered the lives of all Fijians, everywhere in our country, especially for young people. More Fijian children are in school than ever before. In fact, we have achieved universal access to primary and secondary school education now that education is finally free for all students in Fiji.
Those who are vulnerable, and those on the margins of society are being cared for by a vastly expanded network of social security. And families in Fiji, the heart of our society, are receiving a level of support that is unparalleled in Fijian history.
Picture of Jioji Konusi Konrote by INL