Fiji Times

SUVA. Fiji (Jan. 2) – The announcement that the military regime plans to return executive authority to deposed President Ratu Josefa Iloilo is a much welcome development.

Many had feared that the regime would take years to hand back the reins of power.

Many feared that the military, having had a taste of power, would in the end not return executive authority at all.

For history has shown us over the years that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The many unjust instances of abuse reported only served to heighten that fear.

But it appears that self-appointed President Army Commander Voreqe Bainimarama has realised that there is little to be gained from maintaining the status quo and too much to be lost.

There is after all more sense in setting up an independent committee, headed by a judge, to look into the allegations of corruption he so vehemently says is the reason for his coup.

An independent body would be a far better option than current the system in which the same minds collecting evidence, are the same minds prosecuting and passing judgement.

This is no way to serve justice.

The announcement is for many, if not most, the best news for the New Year so far.

While the roadmap on Fiji's return to constitutional rule is not clear, the reaffirmation that the military regime does intend to relinquish executive authority gives many hope that Fiji will very soon be a free nation.

Meanwhile, the soldiers and police who patrolled the streets at the long weekend must be commended for their efforts in ensuring a largely peaceful and crime-free break.

The Booze Bus, the latest addition to the force, is already making a significant presence on ensuring a safe road.

While it is part of their job, the men and women of these disciplined forces must be thanked for working diligently.

They must be recognised for sacrificing their time with their loved ones to ensure that the rest of us are safe.

Now, as Fiji prepares itself to return to civilian rule, it may be wise for the interim Cabinet introduce a law in which the army be required to help police more often.

The long weekends would be a good start. Their presence, preferably without their firearms though, would certainly be effective and would also serve as a good way of rebuilding their relationship with the community.

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