13 Sep 2013

Fiji cleric makes strong call for end to present political system

3:08 pm on 13 September 2013

A leading cleric in Fiji has made a strong call for the end of Fiji's present system of power, which he describes as divisive and breeding a culture of coups and silence.

The Archbishop of Suva, Peter Loy Chong, says the church must address the question of how to eradicate so-called patron-client politics.

He says the prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has perpetuated a system which has its roots in the struggles of Fiji's indigenous people and was practised during British colonial rule as a means of getting grassroots support.

The cleric says Commodore Bainimarama may have removed a corrupt and racist government but he has maintained the old system, just replacing traditional chiefs with military chiefs.

Archbishop Chong, who was speaking at a meeting of the World Association of Christian Communications in Suva, warned there was little hope of building a democratic Fiji if patron-client politics continues.

He says the church must come up with messages to remove this style of politics and educate and empower people to take part responsibly in Fiji's political affairs.