RFMF says it will stay out of politics but concern remains

RFMF

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces’s (RFMF) assurance that it will accept the results of next year’s election has been welcomed, but there remain concerns about its the RFMF’s impartiality.

Since 1987, there have been military three coups in Fiji within a year after elections.

In an interview last week, RFMF chief of staff Colonel Jone Kalouniwai said the military had learnt from its past mistakes, moved out of the coup culture and was no longer a threat to the country.

However the RFMF has recently commented on statements from both main opposition parties as well as the Methodist Church.

The defence spokesperson for the Sodelpa party, Mosese Bulitavu, whose leader Sitiveni Rabuka was the instigator of the 1987 coup, said “There needs to be a clearly defined role as to when do they come in and comment in the political arena.”

In April Kalouniwai said that the RFMF had a constitutional role to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians.

He offered this as a justification for commenting on the Methodist Church’s submission about the marginalisation and agitation of the iTaukei.

The submission included a call for a Christian state, reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs and a review of indigenous rights issues.

Kalouniwai said the RFMF believed  the statement had the potential to influence and breed suspicion, distrust, heightening ethnic tensions and potentially lead to conflict.

An opinion piece posted on the Fiji Sun has urged the commanders of the RFMF to remain silent.

“If they have any concerns about threats to the security of Fiji, they should see the Minister of Defence and explain to him.”

 

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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