Two political parties react to claims of PM Bainimarama’s attack on ethnicity

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with USP's vice chancellor Rajesh Chandra during the University of the South Pacific Open Day at the Laucala campus in Suva on Friday, July 27, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

TWO opposition political parties have hit back at Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s claims that some political party leaders were attacking people of different ethnicity and religion.

While speaking at the University of the South Pacific’s Open Day at Laucala Bay in Suva yesterday, Mr Bainimarama said the voices of hatred and division that once did untold damage to the nation was not gone.

“We’ve pushed them to the fringes of society, but they still persist,” he said.

“I’m sure you may have seen that kind of divisive and damaging thinking on social media, with people attacking those of different ethnicities and those of different religions.

“Unfortunately, we are even seeing those kinds of attacks being made by political leaders today in this country. It’s completely unacceptable — it’s not something we can ever tolerate as a society,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said Mr Bainimarama was always fond of making unsubstantiated allegations without naming anyone.

“We are sick of hearing Prime Minister Bainimarama make such attacks against his political opponents at every public forum; repeating them parrot fashion,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“His remarks should be treated as a political gimmick to divert attention away from the failure of his Government to address the serious socioeconomic issues facing our people.”

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said the Prime Minister should provide evidence or keep quiet and refrain from making any unsubstantiated allegation.

“It is the prime minister who is repeatedly making inflammatory comments by accusing others of using race when he and the Attorney-General first started using it at a temple early this year,” Prof Prasad said.

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