23 Jun 2005

Fiji military takes anti-Bill campaign to farmers

3:27 pm on 23 June 2005

Fiji's military is taking its opposition to the Reconciliation and Unity Bill to rural areas with indigenous translations of the proposed legislation.

The acting military spokesman, Lt Viliame Draunibaka, says the military has a team of more than a hundred people who are educating those in remote villages about the Bill.

"The Fiji military forces right now has sent out teams with a translated version of the Reconciliation and Unity bill, basically to educate rural Fijians on the what the Bill is and its implications and why the military is against it."

Lt Draunibaka says people should realise that the military is speaking out against the Bill, not the Government.

The military commander, Frank Bainimarama, has reportedly said the military will not stop speaking out against the Bill until the Government withdraws the proposed

legislation.

The former New Zealand prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, has warned that the Bill is unconstitutional and a recipe for division and constitutional disaster.

The Fiji Times quotes Sir Geoffrey as saying the truth and reconciliation commission of the type proposed in the Bill is not appropriate, given the legal and constitutional situation in Fiji.

Sir Geoffrey, who's a constitutional lawyer, made the comments after the Fiji Law Society sought his opinion on the Bill.