30 Apr 2004

Ratu Mara's ousting sparks Fiji political row

6:19 am on 30 April 2004

The ousting of a former president has sparked a political row in Fiji.

The Fijian Political Party, the SVT, has strongly attacked the leader of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance party, for calling on the military to make a traditional apology for the removal of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara from the Presidency during the May 2000 coup.

The Conservative Alliance Party's Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, said Commodore Bainimarama was wrongly advised by the then-military government's "think tank".

He said it would be better for the military, to make the traditional apology, on behalf of Commodore Bainimarama.

But the Fiji Sun reports that the SVT has criticised Ratu Naiqama for using parliament, coupled with the wrong timing, to stir ill feelings in the country.

The SVT spokesperson, Ema Druavesi, has accused Ratu Naiqama, of using the feelings of the public at a time of mourning for Ratu Mara, to work against the military, and stir discontent.

Mrs Druavesi says anyone can see that Ratu Naiqama's trying desperately to cover up his party's involvement in the coup.

She says it's deplorable that people used their chiefly status to take over the army barracks and Korovou town during the coup.

Mrs Druavesi has called on the Attorney General to explain what he's doing, to bring to justice, people sitting in Parliament, who were involved in the coup.