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FIJI: Will military ensure will of the people?

Will military ensure will of the people remains supreme?

Issue No: 759 14 May 2001

The role of the military has been questioned by the Citizens Constitutional Forum today the 14th anniversary of the first military coup.

In a letter published in today's Fiji Sun, CCF's Chairman, Professor Vijay Naidu writes:

"The security forces in Fiji have been politicised and have got into the habit of denying the will of the people. The Fiji Military is an institution with elements deeply imbued with racial preoccupation. Democracy is not acceptable to the military if electoral outcomes are not in accordance with the wishes of the ethnic Fijian establishment as a whole or powerful factions of it. The security forces have failed yet again to uphold the constitution and protect the elected government. This is one of the fundamental reasons for their existence".

Professor Naidu condemned the regime's Prime Minister for saying that the elected government should not be returned because it posed a security threat. Naidu stated: "A return to the Parliament of pre-may 19 would mean that Mr. Qarase would not be Prime Minister and therefore no longer in a position to drive around in a $120,000 Land Cruiser and squander thousands of dollars of our tax on public relations companies and paid advertisements".

Speaking at a function organised by Fiji's hoteliers, Qarase had condemned those people and institutions who championed the rule of law. Calling them "zealots of constitutionality", Qarase stated that the welfare of the people came before the rule of law.

Naidu states that for Qarase the people meant the Speight terrorist group. He concluded: "Fiji is unlikely to ever gain stability if we do not uphold constitutionality and the rule of law. Democracy is more than just having a parliament . it means giving voice to the will of the people. The Security Forces, the Great Council of Chiefs, and the President must respect the people's will express in periodic free and fair elections".

END

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