OPINION: Soon we will all be free
10 December, 2022, 1:25 pm
As the clock rapidly ticks us forward to Wednesday, December 14, 2022, never has every waking hour been so precious to candidates of political parties running for election, as it is now.
The stakes for the champagne-lifestyle types on our tab, are of course way higher for the FFP as it dawns on them that the smoke from ‘smoke and mirrors’ ploys has cleared, and the mirrors of fakery have shattered.
Despite the sudden white-shirted uniform, vainly reliant on alternative sources of motivation, no one is buying into the two snakeoil merchants’ vain pleas.
Nor those of their minions all pitifully and publicly crowing out a single candidate number over their own (reducing their own chances to get their personal candidate numbers up).
The FFP last minute pleas to voters for an extension of their employment contracts, have cost us all too much.
There has been no return on investment.
They are making fervent requests to taxpayers as a condescending afterthought, because they have revelled like drunks in a club (as Professor Biman Prasad has described it), for 16 years riding high on the fruits of our labour through VAT, shackling charges like ‘Cost, Insurance, Freight’ (CIF) and dinau (debt) and other fees, fines and charges.
Predictably, the unhinged demeanour of the two-man show from FFP of last week, is being furiously back-pedalled with calmer ‘pieces to camera’ by the FFP leader.
They convince absolutely no one.
Who can forget that only last week, the FFP leader, who seemed to confess himself as heading for hell, made an “un-iPaded” attack on talatala (religious leaders of the Christian faith)?
Who can further forget that only last week, the FFP general secretary was denigrating and insulting bhajaniya (traditional IndoFijian folksingers) as being unworthy of parliamentary candidacy, once again earning him top billing for another withering instalment from The Hindu Post?
Who can forget that in just a matter of days gone by, Prof Biman’s wife and her professional credentials were so viciously attacked by someone who insists, khali baat (all talk no action) style, on his billboards that his leadership is caring?
Pre-polling and postal voting
The will of the people as expressed by postal and pre-poll voters these last few days is insistent.
We believe the flames of change are already tattooed on ballots in the postal and pre-poll ballot boxes awaiting the count of December 14.
As of now, the weather outlook predicts rain for next Wednesday.
Could this herald a rain on the parade of the outgoing ruling party?
We are hopeful that contingency plans for electricity and stratospheric internet traffic, plus mobile calls on count night, are robust enough to cater for presiding officers, their new App, and the calling through of results.
Their “ideas” Lo and behold, under the cloak of darkness, FFP releases its manifesto.
Despite their dramatic hue and cry about the rest of us falling short of their “standards”, the lack of substance and airy-fairy motherhood quips in that document would not give comfort to even the most gullible among us.
Because the glossy pictures and nauseating self-praise cannot compete with consistently dire groundtruths like dry taps, intermittent electricity, potholed roads and crumbling hospital infrastructure.
When the FFP leader takes it upon himself to discount qualified professionals on the reality of our dinau (debt) situation, he shows up his competence (or lack thereof), by shoulder-shrugging it all and insisting that nothing debt-worrying has happened a week on.
If anyone were to ask him how much our debt level was this very second, what would the FFP leader reply?
What has missed the FFP think-tank altogether is that this time around, the electorate was not the least bit interested in policy proposals by political parties.
Their state of “fed-upness” had long ago reached saturation point.
They just want them gone.
The vicious attacks by FFP-leaning social media trolls and humans, who are “paid to smile” as one of them once proclaimed, has done nothing to skew social media algorithms in their favour, nor inflame toxic emotions online as a blazing inferno.
Their think-tank forgets that the electorate is way smarter than they could ever realise.
They know when they are being manipulated.
They tell us so.
The secret co-ordination of troll attacks on chat groups involving real people and real candidates, with a set script does nothing for them.
Even the patterns of automated bot behaviour have given rise to a greater understanding of truth and lies on social media – especially the vain attempts to twist public opinion.
There will be a process to unravel it all.
What escapes those thinktank sorts again, is that the majority of the minds of the people were already made up.
The undecided voter numbers have shrunk.
The majority have resolved to take a stand.
While their thoughts might not be outwardly expressed, they already know what they need to do on December 14.
On Sunday at midnight, the blackout period comes into effect.
Before then, all candidates will need to remove all publicly placed campaign material such as billboards, and shut down all their social media channels.
No one of us political candidates is permitted to campaign.
From past electoral experience, it is when the cover of darkness blankets them especially online, that vile actions thrive.
Shine a light on it!
If fake news travels through messenger or gmail, post it and tag the FEO as “arbiter of electoral truths”.
Maybe you will have better, more rapid luck than what we experienced during the 2018 election, when our hands were bound, and we were blindfolded during the blackout.
Expect to see doctored images and edited vides that suggest that your party or candidate is worse than the spawn of Satan.
Do not believe it.
Guard the truth as you know it and defend it vigorously.
If you observe offline campaigning material, report it to the FEO and your political party.
Post on it.
Let the sun blaze on the darkness.
If you observe questionable activity like campaigning while you line up to vote or ballot boxes and papers in odd places, take a time-stamped video and selfie with that individual that places you there, report it to the presiding officer and your political party.
Our journey together stops momentarily at the blackout period.
From then on, our trust and confidence lies in your hands to carry forward the beacon of change and truth, with courage.
We will be free soon.
Truth and light will victoriously crush darkness, lies and deceit.
We will see you in the winner’s circle.
• SENI NABOU is the general secretary of the National Federation Party. The views in this article are hers and not necessarily shared by this newspaper.