18 Dec 2003

Former Fiji coup leader calls army unprofessional for call to retain commander

11:44 am on 18 December 2003

The leader of the 1987 coups in Fiji and former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says it's unprofessional of the army to call on the government to retain its commander.

Mr Rabuka, who's now the president of the Fijian political party, the SVT, says the army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is doing a good job but it's up to the government to decide who should be appointed.

The commander's contract comes to an end in February and he has now publicly stated he'd like to retain the position to see all coup-related cases brought before the courts.

The statement also said that there were elements within the government who were lobbying strongly for him to be removed.

Mr Rabuka says the army should not have said anything.

"As a former military man, it is unprofessional for the Army to try and dictate to the Government that this commander or that commander or that officer should stay or should go. And they should accept whoever the Governmnent puts up there as their commander."

Sitiveni Rabuka.

The minister of information and the minister of home affairs, who will recommend who should be appointed, were both unavailable for comment.