5 Jan 2006

Fiji minister admits he can't discipline military commander

9:14 am on 5 January 2006

Fiji's home affairs minister has admitted that he cannot discipline the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

The comments come after Commodore Bainimarama described the government as incompetent and called on it to resign.

The Daily Post quotes Josefa Vosanibola as saying he has no powers to discipline the commander, and adds that Commodore Bainimarama is a public officer who needs to respect and honour the government of the day.

Mr Vosanibola says the government is elected and has the mandate of the people.

He says the commander is not the one to ask them to resign and only the people have the power to vote them out of office in a democratic way and not by guns.

The chief executive of the prime minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu, says Fiji's vice president hopes to convene a meeting this week to resolve the dispute.

"The government for its part is following the proper procedure and that is to be consulting very closely with the office of the president, because for the army commander, the appointing authority is the president."