1 Sep 2005

Mahendra Chaudhry called stupid for attack on Prime Minister over alien democracy remarks.

7:29 pm on 1 September 2005

A former minister in Mahendra Chaudhry's deposed Fiji Labour coalition government says Mr Chaudhry is being stupid in criticising prime minister Laisenia Qarase's remarks that western democracy is alien to indigenous Fijians.

Harieta Rigamoto, who was held hostage for 56 days with Mr Chaudhry but is now the minister for information in the Qarase government, says Mr Chaudhry should stop being a racist and respect the Fijian chiefly system.

Referring to Mr Qarase's comments that chiefs were at the apex of the Fijian hierarchical system by virtue of their birth and rank, Mr Chaudhry said outdated feudal systems of control which practise double standards are keeping ordinary Fijians poor.

Mrs Rigamoto says Mr Chaudhry's onslaught on the Fijian chiefly system is a political agenda aimed at destroying what the Fijians hold dear.

She says Mr Chaudhry has demonstrated once again that he has no understanding of and sympathy for Fijian customary values, and this makes him totally unsuitable for national leadership.