9 Jun 2003

Former Fiji MP criticises public debate on army chief's position

3:15 pm on 9 June 2003

The former Fiji prime minister and one time army commander, Sitiveni Rabuka, has criticised the public debate on the future of the current military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Mr Rabuka appointed himself military commander after deposing the commander and the army chief of staff at the time of his first military coup in 1987.

But in the case of Commodore Bainimarama, he has told the Fiji Times the commander is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the minister for home affairs.

Mr Rabuka says there is no need for the public debate because the minister for home affairs is the only person who can make the recommendation.

The issue has been in the public eye after statements that Commodore Bainimarama's term would not be renewed.

Commodore Bainimarama revealed last week that the government had offered him three diplomatic postings which he turned down because of unfinished business in the coup and mutiny related prosecutions.

The secretary for home affairs, Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau, said Commodore Bainimarama's future would depend on a performance review at the end of this year.