Fiji’s humanitarian disaster as it faces the highest daily rate of Covid-19 infection in the world now faces a serious political crisis, with a number of members of parliament being taken into custody tonight.
The escalating tension is over the Government’s intention, led by the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, to amend the iTaukei Land Trust Act tomorrow.
At the moment anyone leasing land or wanting to make changes has to go through the iTaukei Land Trust Board which is there to protect indigenous landowners rights – but the amendment removes that.
This has sparked widespread protest from politicians, public figures and many in the community amidst threats of violence.
One facebook post urged Fijians to rally at Parliament complex tomorrow with weapons to fight members of the Muslim communities – a reference to the Attorney General’s religion.
Police have this afternoon taken into custody a man for questioning over that post and are also investigating an alleged arson attack on a Muslim owned shop and the attempted burning of a mosque in Taveuni.
Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu has confirmed its also investigating the cause of an explosion this afternoon at the Maui Bay picnic spot.
Several opposition MP’s, who have been outspoken about the Land Bill amendment have been rounded up by police tonight including leader of the National Federation Party Biman Prasad, NFP President Pio Tikoduadua and politician and lawyer Lynda Tabuya. 1 NEWS understands more will be taken in for questioning.
Meanwhile the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has called for calm and for Fijians not to take the law into their own hands.
“We understand there may be anger and frustration against the FijiFirst Government’s plan to bring about a Bill to amend the iTaukei Lands Trust Act of 1940 without carrying out proper consultation,” says SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka.
He’s instead calling for people to sign a petition against the Bill and says if they are ignored may hold a peaceful march.