May 24, 2012

Fiji Sun: Take care, says army - Tikoitoga cautions critics

May 24, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
By Maika Bolatiki

The military is concerned with statements from critics and political parties against the constitutional process.

Republic of the Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga cautions critics and political parties against uttering remarks against the process.

He said many critics were raising issues to champion their own cause.

He made the comments following remarks by Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party (SDL) leader, Laisenia Qarase who said the involvement of senior military officers indicated Government was determined to control and direct the election process.

Mr Qarase said the direct involvement of the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and military officers in the election process cast doubt on the process itself, and on its ultimate outcome.

Colonel Tikoitoga said while the SDL leader had the right to air the party’s view, Mr Qarase should be reminded that the SDL did not correct what was wrong in the 2006 General Elections when they were in power.

He said the military took leadership in 2006 with the main objective to conduct a clean-up campaign. Colonel Tikoitoga said part of the clean-up was the Elections Office.

He said the Laisenia Qarase-led Soqosoqo Ni Duavata Ni Lewenivanua government knew of irregularities in the voter registration, but did nothing about it.

"The military in supporting Government does not want to see a repeat of what happened in 2006," Colonel Tikoitoga said.

The 2006 European Union observer report identified a number of flaws
(Editorial Note: One such observation by the EU observer mission detailed on page 1 highlighted that "The Chief Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces became inappropriately involved in the political campaign through a series of public statements before and during the elections.")

Colonel Tikoitoga said this would be addressed in a credible and transparent manner. He said the comment from SDL on the involvement of the Attorney General and military officers was childish.

He said the military supported the Government and would work with it until a new government is elected into power.

He said military personnel were involved to see what everything done would be transparent.

"When we leave, there will be zero tolerance on corruption, abuse of office and Fijians will enjoy living in a very peaceful and harmonious atmosphere where all are treated equally," he said.

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