Can Fiji's political parties see the big picture and make the sacrifice?
"We are not targeting anyone".
So says the country's illegal attorney general but anyone looking at the provisions of the Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree can see the truth: political parties are being killed off to secure the regime's longevity through to the election and beyond. (see images and link to decree at end of story)
Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum insists the 'government has taken a principled approach to laws and is not targeting anyone in particular', claiming that even Frank Bainimarama will have to toe the rules if he wants to be a party executive.
Either this is a misnomer overlooked by Bainimarama and his supporters or there's another plan adrift behind the scenes. Either way, political parties - existing and in the wings - are out of the picture unless they can outsmart the regime.
The trickiest provision in the decree is the ruling regarding membership that says there must be five thousand members all up - and that two thousand of them must come from the Central Division, 1,750 from the Western Division, 1,000 thousand from the North and 250 from the Eastern Division.
None of the political parties have such a support base on tap, either on paper or even electronically as major campaigns elsewhere in the world have used to solicit funding or rally numbers before and after elections.
The regime doesn't do anything without covering its arse first so its not whimsical to suggest it has been busy building a nest of support via the likes of its MINFO Facebook where it could stump up numbers and the a dollar a head fee.
Membership numbers on the site jumped dramatically in recent weeks going from four thousand and something to more than six thousand and it's not unreasonable to expect these could be turned into a political roll.
None of Fiji's political parties are that organised, although most have websites with SDL, the biggest party, recently launching one. They have, however, been working loosely as a coalition on Constitutional reforms issues and must consider cementing this formally to take on the regime.
But they must merge quickly before the goalposts are moved again and they must align themselves with those fighting for the cause who have an electronic data base of support.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL POLITICAL PARTIES DECREE