5 Dec 2009

Rural Fijians know little about citizenship, says CCF

10:10 am on 5 December 2009

The executive director of the Fiji Citizens' Constitutional Forum says there's no point holding an election in Fiji until the country's deep seated racial problems are addressed.

Akuila Yabaki has told a Pacific political studies conference in Auckland too much emphasis is being placed on restoring democracy rather than on addressing Fiji's real problems.

Reverend Yabaki says despite the country's history of coups, large sectors of the population lack even the most basic information on what citizenship is.

"In our work in the villages, seventeen percent of the people knew what citizenship is... when you come to Fiji, you fill in the immigration form, you've got Fiji citizen. But before we had categories of Fijians. They've got rid of that. but then you have to educate people to understand what a Fiji citizen is, that you have a passport, you are born in Fiji."

Akuila Yabaki says that lack of knowledge affects the political process, and internal problems such as the divide between ethnic and indo-Fijians must be addressed first.