Archbishop Chong – system of patron-client politics must end

Fiji’s system of patron-client politics must end if the nation is to resolve its coup culture and facilitate a path towards democracy, says the Archbishop of Suva, Peter Chong. He says the present system is divisive and breeds a culture of coups and silence.

Chong said interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has used the patron-client political strategy to gain support, particularly with the grassroots iTaukei (indigenous people).

He said studies showed that in the Bainimarama patronage, loyalty to the chiefs and traditional systems had shifted to the army.

“The military had become the institution of patronage. In other words, the form of power, namely patron-client politics exercised by former Fijian governments, has not changed.

“The only recognisable change in Bainimarama’s regime was the change in personnel. Instead of chiefs dominating the system, military officers now headed the important governmental institutions.”

More than 40 military officers have been appointed to senior positions within the civil service and statutory bodies since 2006, replacing those whose loyalty Commodore Bainimarama has questioned.

Click here for full text of Archbishop Chong’s Address to World Association for Christian Communication

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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