3 Mar 2004

Fiji's CCF says government attempting to give politicians too much power

4:07 pm on 3 March 2004

Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum is rejecting government explanations for pushing for politicians to be allowed to hold a second public office.

The CCF's the Reverend Akuila Yabaki says amending the constitution to enable this to happen would give MPs too much power.

And, he says bodies like provincial councils, the Native Lands Trust Board and the Great Council of chiefs would become too politicised.

The information minister, Simione Kaitani, says the constitution currently bars MPs who are paramount chiefs from exercising a traditional right to belong to these boards.

But Mr Yabaki says this isn't correct.

"I think paramount chiefs doesn't mean they should have paramountcy over everybody else in the boards. Paramount chiefs can be invited as advisers in these boards. The president can come and sit at the Native Lands Trust board, they're quite willing to be there, they can be consulted without becoming members, as it were voting members, so that can be taken care of."

The Reverend Akuila Yabaki.

Any amendment to the constitution requires the support of two-thirds of the MPs in parliament.

The move has the support of both the government and the Fiji Labour party.