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By MAIKA BOLATIKI
A coup d’état is not part of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), a senior Fiji military officer has said.
Speaking also before the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, at the Public Service Commission training centre, Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said it was sad that whenever there was talk about the coup in Fiji it was linked to the RFMF.
“The public must know now that coup is not part of the RFMF,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
“The RFMF is here to protect the people and the nation so it will not engage itself in something that will harm both. The RFMF is for the public and at all times will serve them.”
Colonel Tikoitoga admitted that the RFMF was used by the coup perpetrators “…for their own good” in 1987 and 2000 and vowed that this would not happen again. Colonel Tikoitoga also reacted to some submissions made to the Constitution Commission about the RFMF.
He said those citizens had every right to do so, but reiterated that the role of the military would be clearly set out in the new Constitution.
“The military took over leadership in December 2006 because of bad leadership and corrupt practices in Government. We came to carry out a clean-up exercise and changed things for the betterment of the people of Fiji.”
Former parliamentarian Deo Narayan in his submission said: “Fiji is a coup-infected nation. There had been four coups since 1987. All coups were carried out by the armed forces or a unit of the armed forces.
He added: “I doubt whether anyone can guarantee that there will be no more coups in the future. Without any guarantee there is perhaps no purpose of this consultation process.”
Rewa chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau in his submission said: “The military must be subservient to a democratically-elected government at all times. This must be explicit, made very clear and unambiguously in the constitution. The constitution must specify a coup penalty; either life imprisonment or death.”
The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua submission said: “It is proposed that the provision in the 1997 Constitution should clearly set out the role and functions of the RFMF, without ambiguity.
The reference in the 1990 Constitution should be deleted.”
The RFMF, Colonel Tikoitoga said supported Government’s roadmap to rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well governed, truly democratic nation; a nation that seeks progress and prosper through merit-based equality of opportunity and peace.