6 Oct 2018

Fiji opposition calls on Sayed-Khaiyum to be civil

2:36 pm on 6 October 2018

The leader of Fiji's National Federation Party says claims by the ruling FijiFirst party and its general-secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, that a recent act of vandalism defacing the Fijian Prime Minister's image was motivated by the opposition is "ridiculous".

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Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet

Professor Biman Prasad said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, who is also the Attorney-General and the Minister for Elections, "should shut up and demonstrate civility because elections are a battle of ideas and not mudslinging".

Professor Prasad said it was habitual of the attorney-general to blame anything and everything on the opposition and this nonsense must stop.

He said if the attorney-general had irrefutable evidence that the NFP were behind this deplorable act, he should give it to police.

Professor Prasad said vandalism defacing campaign material of any political party is a criminal act.

On Wednesday, Islands Business reported that a billboard bearing the face of FijiFirst party leader, Frank Bainimarama, was attacked by vandals.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announcing the candidates standing for his FijiFirst party in the 2018 election

Photo: RNZ

Following the incident, FijiFirst put out a tweet and a Facebook post on its official social media accounts claiming that the action was motivated by "opposition parties and their supporters".

RNZ Pacific sent questions to the FijiFirst party on Wednesday to substantiate its claims on the incident. They have not responded.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, however, was quoted in the Fiji Sun, saying "the type of leadership Bainimarama poses is lacking in NFP and Sodelpa", the two major opposition political parties in Fiji - "which has consequently manifested in woeful behavior as displayed through the defacing of the billboards."

Fiji police have confirmed they received a complaint from the owner of the billboard company regarding the incident and are investigating.

Fiji goes to the polls on 14 November.

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