30 May 2002

Fiji army commander said to have wanted George Speight in interim administration

8:44 am on 30 May 2002

It's been revealed in Fiji that the army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, had wanted George Speight included in the interim administration formed three months after the May 2000 coup.

But he met stiff opposition from his senior officers who managed to convince him to call off a power sharing arrangement with the coup makers.

The Fiji Times reports it has been confirmed that the secretary for home affairs, Col Jeremaia Waqanisau, was the first to speak against the commander's plan.

The newspaper says details of the behind-the-scenes tussle - denied at the time - are revealed in the resignation letter of controversial officer, Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini.

It explains the deferral, by one week, of the appointment of the interim administration.

Col Waganisau has confirmed that he spoke out strongly against the commander's decision to include Speight's team in the interim administration.

He says other senior officers present also spoke out against Speight's inclusion.

But he says the commander should be commended for being prepared to listen because he was head of state at the time.