5 Jun 2003

Fiji pro coup MP says Great Council Chief acting beyond his authority

6:29 pm on 5 June 2003

A Fiji MP claims the Chairman of the Great Council of chiefs is overstepping his authority by calling on the Vice President Ratu Jope Seniloli to step down.

Samisoni Tikonisau, a Conservative Alliance MP and brother of coup front man George Speight, says under the constitution, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, does not have such authority.

Ratu Jope, who was sworn in as the usurper president after the coup, is now facing a charge of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

Ratu Epeli said he advised Ratu Jope to step down now for the sake of the office.

If found guilty he will automatically lose his position..

Mr Tikonisau says divisions are emerging within the Great Council of Chiefs and that Ratu Epeli is acting unilaterally.

"disciplinary procedures with regard to these two positions is clearly spelt out in the constitution.... no way does it say that the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs has any say in these matters... we have to correct that"

Samisoni Tikonsau, Conservative Alliance MP in Fiji.