OUTSPOKEN FIJI MILITARY CHIEF WITHIN RIGHTS

Editorial

Fiji Sun

SUVA, Fiji (September 25) – Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was hailed a hero, when he stood for law and order during the 2000 political crisis. He did not buckle but stood firm in ensuring that law was restored and the safety of every citizen in this country was guaranteed. The stance he took was not welcomed by his own people. He had to do it for the very institution he stood for and also for the future of this country.

This resulted in the quick restoration of democracy and the country was able to go back to the polls the following year. But have we ever considered of what the future of this country would be like if Commodore Bainimarama had acted otherwise. If he had taken the easy way out by marching his troops to Parliament, to support the illegal act of George Speight and his rebel supporters.

Not only that, condoning the acts of terrorism done upon the Indo Fijian community, who had their farms and houses burnt to the ground and ran to caves to hide from the rebels. What if Commodore Bainimarama allowed himself, to be brainwashed in those nationalistic ideologies that resulted in the worshipping of traditional gods? If that was the case Fiji, would not have reached this far and instead there would have been more bloodshed, hatred and injustice, as the struggle for power mounts up.

Thankfully, it did not get out of hand and good sense had prevailed but recently these elements of instability have crept up again. Greed has reared its ugly head and brings about the promotion of divisive legislations, which should be stopped. Such legislations will drive away investors resulting in an economic gloom. There will be no jobs, lack of developments and money. This will bring nothing but miseries to the common Fijian people and things could turn ugly, if nothing is done about it.

This is what the military is trying to avert. As a watchdog, Commodore Bainimarama has made it publicly known that something has to be done about it. In fact, his outburst is not a challenge or a threat to the country's leadership role but simply to voice his concern. It is up to Government whether to take heed of it or simply ignore it. Commodore Bainimarama is only exercising his right as the head of the military and a citizen of this country. And there is nothing wrong in that.

September 25, 2006

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