The National Federation Party says the Attorney General and Minister for Economy’s attack on the student leader at Fiji National University for showing support for the Party and following a religious belief is shameful and despicable. Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the Attorney-General tours the country on his socalled “Budget Roadshow”, his comments become more ridiculous at every meeting. Now he has attacked the National President of the FNU Students Association, Ketan Lal, as “politically aligned”.
This is because, he says, Mr Lal liked or shared some NFP social media posts”. “Perceptions do matter”, the AG said. Just because a person heads a student body does not prevent him from expressing views about a political party.
Anyone can comment for or against the ideas of a political party. This does not make a person “politically aligned”. The Attorney-General said Government will not give funds to a students’ association which is “politically aligned”.
What he really means is that Government will not give funds to a student association that does not support the Fiji First Party. And he says “perceptions matter”. We agree:
• he is the Minister for Elections and the general secretary of the Fiji First Party. Do “perceptions matter?”
• the Permanent Secretary of Trade has praised the Government for economic growth on his social media account (Twitter @axeshane, 7 August). Do “perceptions matter”?
• his own political party is promoting his Budget roadshow on social media, even though he says he is not campaigning. Do “perceptions matter”?
• A member of the Constitutional Offices Commission has been interviewing applicants seeking candidacy for Fiji First in the elections. “Do perceptions matter?”
First he complains that when he is criticised people are being racist. Now he complains that when someone likes an opposition party statement, that person is “political”. He is losing his grip on reality.
It is time for him to retire. An NFP Government will facilitate the establishment of strong student bodies through financial support and other resources, as well as the establishment of an umbrella student body of all student bodies in our tertiary institutions.
This will be a concrete step towards genuine youth empowerment.