27 Jan 2004

Media reports say Fiji military commander will get another, but shorter, term in office

8:23 am on 27 January 2004

Reports from Fiji say Commodore Frank Bainimarama will be re-appointed as military commander for another term.

But Fiji Television says the new contract will be for three years instead of the normal five.

It says the Commodore will have to have his performance reviewed every six months.

If his performance is deemed to be below standard for two consecutive reviews, then the appointment can be revoked.

The new contract is understood to say that he must complete all coup and mutiny investigations in the three years, something the Commodore insisted he wanted to stay on to do.

If he completes his full three year term, he will receive 131 thousand US dollars in gratuity.

But the government will not offer other jobs, as it did when it offered him diplomatic postings overseas.

Fiji TV says Commodore Bainimarama has accepted the terms, which are being vetted by the Prime Minister after which the documents will go to President Iloilo for formal approval.

The issue of the appointment has resulted in much bitter public acrimony between the military and the Chief Executive of the Home Affairs Ministry, Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau.

It also resulted in some senior army officers being sent on leave for not pledging their allegiance to Commodore Bainimarama.