13 Jan 2004

Army debate angers Fiji PM's office

7:37 am on 13 January 2004

The Fiji prime minister's office has told public servants to stop speculating about the appointment of the new army commander to succeed Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The Fiji Times quotes the chief executive of the office Jioji Kotobalavu, as saying civil servants should stop spreading false news through the media, and allow the law to take its course.

He says the law is very clear on this issue and says the president appoints the army commander on the advise of the minister of home affairs.

Mr Kotobalavu says speculation only creates fear among people who start believing in what is being said.

His comments follow reports that a committee of officials in the ministry of home affairs has earmarked a successor to Commodore Bainimarama, whose post will not be advertised.

The army has said it will not accept any commander selected by such a committee because the appointment can only be made by the president.