2 Nov 2006

Fiji's military commander says country does not need weak leader

9:33 am on 2 November 2006

Fiji's military commander says the country does not need a weak leader like Laisenia Qarase who is too scared to make decisions.

Commodore Bainimarama made the comment from the Middle East last night after Mr Qarase went on radio and television yesterday to announce that he was referring the current impasse to the Great Council of Chiefs

Commodore Bainimarama has told the Fiji Sun newspaper Mr Qarase "is the head of the country and he should have the guts to make decisions."

But if Mr Qarase is referring matters to the Great Council, then he "should butt out and give control of the country to the chiefs."

Commodore Bainimarama says Mr Qarase is using the chiefs to rally support among the Fijian people, a tactic similar to the one adopted by George Speight during the coup when rebels erected roadblocks, and seized control of towns and police stations around Fiji.

He says Mr "Qarase is trying to gather support from the chiefs so they can influence the Fijian people to go against the military."

Commodore Bainimarama says "this shows the calibre of a weak and manipulative leader who has no guts to stand and fight for his people but instead turns to the Great Council of Chiefs to make decisions for him."

He says some of the chiefs who incited insurrection in 2000 are still in the Great Council and Mr Qarase will get what he wants.