Driti Trial In Fiji ‘Ploy’ By Regime To Scare Soldiers

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Jone Baledrokadroka says PM needs undivided loyalty

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 5, 2013) – A former senior Fiji military officer, Jone Baledrokadroka, says the trial of Pita Driti was a ploy by the Fiji regime to drive fear into the hearts of Fiji’s soldiers.

Driti was land force commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and was convicted last week of inciting mutiny.

He faces a maximum 15 year jail sentence.

Mr Baledrokadroka was dismissed by the regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama while acting land force commander in 2006.

He says the conviction underscores the futility of the military’s intervention in politics.

"It sends out a clear message to the military, which is the only constituent, as far as Bainimarama is concerned, that he’s been playing to that ‘you must stick with me’ and he needs the troops undivided loyalty at the moment so I think it’s more fear tactics, trying to drive fear into the hearts of the troops."

Jone Baledrokadroka says the purging of a string of land force commanders by Commodore Bainimarama since 1999 has meant the best and the brightest have left the military.

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