10 Dec 2004

Fiji prime minister says cabinet reshuffle will include home affairs ministry

11:20 am on 10 December 2004

Fiji's minister for home affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, may be dropped in a cabinet reshuffle soon.

Radio Legend reports that this has been revealed by the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Mr Qarase says it has become necessary to review some portfolios, especially the ministry which handles the military, and an announcement will be made in the near future.

Mr Qarase says the home affairs portfolio may be given to another minister.

He says the military has continued to step out of its area of responsibility and any communication to the president must go through the minister for home affairs.

Earlier, the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, had told local media that the military could communicate directly with the president on national security matters because he was their commander in chief.

Mr Qarase's move follows the continuing public war of words between the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and the government.

Only yesterday, the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, said the Qarase government was impotent because it was unable to pull the military into line.

Mr Rabuka said the government could not do anything to enforce the cabinet's executive authority, was not effectively in power and should resign.

Mr Qarase says Mr Rabuka should be patient.