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Government trying to muzzle dissenting voices

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 26, 2009) – The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party (SDL) says it appears the political dialogue forums aimed at building consensus towards elections, have ended up being more divisive than inclusive.

SDL director Peceli Kinivuwai was commenting on recently reported comments by Land Force Commander Colonel Pita Driti that political parties and non-governmental organisations should stop attacking the military and the interim Government, if they wanted to be included in future political dialogue forums.

"It looks like the dialogue forums are ending up being divisive and not (as) inclusive as it should be. It is only proper that all parties especially the SDL take part in the meet," said Kinivuwai.

In an interview with Radio Australia, Colonel Driti reportedly said verbal attacks by the SDL and the National Federation Party clearly indicated the parties had not adhered to, and aligned themselves to the forum’s guidelines, its themes and its drive to take Fiji forward.

He said it was not difficult to have these parties and organisations excluded from the forum because it was designed to carefully draw political parties towards a common end, state or vision.

Kinivuwai asked Colonel Driti to clarify which of their comments had been anti-government.

Immediately before the last forum a fortnight ago, there were reports the SDL and NFP would be excluded for the same reasons, however, that did not happen.

The next meeting of political leaders will be on April 9th when the terms of reference and nominees for the mediator for the forum will be discussed.


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