11 Sep 2009

Food more important than democracy in Fiji

10:34 am on 11 September 2009

The national director of the governing political party deposed in Fiji's 2006 coup, says the indigenous population cares more about food on the table than who runs the country.

Peceli Kinivuwai, from the SDL Party, says Fijians living in villages have no political awareness and many don't understand what western style democracy is.

He says there is a growing uneducated indigenous population who're largely ill-informed and disinterested in democratic elections.

"Because the majority of the people of Fiji - in particular the indigenous community - don't know the meaning and the value of emocracy. That is why people are left alone in the wilderness, particularly naive and totally oblivious to what is happening."

Peceli Kinivuwai says the international community must keep the pressure on Fiji.

However, the executive director of Fiji's Council of Social Services Hassan Chan disagrees and says the key is dialogue not pressure.

If you don't engage you will be the losers. And I think through engagement and dialogue and respecting people's decisions, we'll be better off than trying to fight a losing battle of trying to push something that is simply not on.

Hassan Chan says the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, has promised to bring democracy to Fiji and must be supported not criticised.