The concept of separation of powers between the Parliament who makes the laws, the judiciary and the executive has been twisted by some including FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Kaiyum for their own interests, says Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube.
He was responding to comments made by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum during a media conference on Saturday.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum claimed that from December 25, a number of policy announcements have breached many of the procedures that have been laid out in the 2013 Constitution, and the blurring of the lines of separation of powers was quite worrying .
He further claimed when Voreqe Bainimarama became the Prime Minister in 2014 and 2018, there was no traditional welcoming ceremony done by the Parliament and the reason why this was not done was to maintain a separation of powers.
Mr Narube said the defining issue in the separation of powers was the independence of these institutions from one another however what many do not understand was these arms of the nation were not mutually exclusive of each other.
“The Parliament for instance is made up of the ministers who are also members of the executive. But the ministers are accountable to the people separately as a Cabinet and as a Parliament,” he said.
“The Speaker is the leader of Parliament, the Prime Minister is the leader of the Government and the Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary.
“Therefore, the ceremonies that are welcoming the new members of Parliament have nothing to do with the separation of powers.
“In my view, if the parliamentary secretariat wishes to extend a welcoming ceremony to its new members or for the PM who is a member of Parliament, they are free to do so, and they do not in any way compromise the independence of Parliament.”
Mr Narube also responded to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s comment towards the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Viliame Gavoka saying he had no right to tell Air Terminal Services (ATS) to take back all the workers who lost their jobs during the COVID pandemic.
“If a portfolio minister wishes to issue a policy directive to a company, he or she must follow the universal principle of corporate governance and go through the board.
“We all know that Aiyaz had issued many directives to the government owned companies when he was in government. “But he did it through his self-appointed board members and CEOs.
“Mr Gavoka and other ministers can do exactly what Aiyaz did and go through the boards.”