23 Jan 2004

Decision on Fiji military commander's future reported imminent

8:08 am on 23 January 2004

A decision on the fate of Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is reported to be imminent.

The Fiji Times says this has been confirmed by the chief executive of the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu.

He says the home affairs minister, Joketani Cokanasiga, is formulating his advice to the president on whether to retain Commodore Bainimarama or replace him.

Mr Kotobalavu says the minister already consulted the prime minister, has the views of the National Security Council and has taken into account all relevant considerations and is now working on his advice to the president.

Mr Kotobalavu says it is not proper for politicians, army officers and others to exert pressure on the minister but an announcement can be expected within a few days.

Meanwhile, the former military commander and now chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, who recommended Commodore Bainimarama's appointment in 1999, says the government should make a decision rather than add to public insecurity over the issue.

Commodore Bainimarama has repeatedly said that he want stay on as commander to complete the prosecution of soldiers involved in the May 2000 coup and the army mutiny the following November.