29 Apr 2004

Fiji interview shows Ratu Mara unclear about removal reason

2:06 pm on 29 April 2004

The late Fiji statesman, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, has revealed in a previously unreleased television interview, he never knew why he was removed from his presidency during the May 2000 coup.

Ratu Mara made the comment in an interview with Fiji TV after the coup.

He says there had been rumours that George Speight's rebels would come to Government House and 'get him'.

He then called his son in the army, and was assured that there was a security detail of 80 troops ready to come to Government House.

Ratu Mara says the next thing he knew was that his official secretary, Joe Brown, was telling him to evacuate to a navy ship in the harbour.

Ratu Mara said he did not know whether Mr Browne was acting for somebody or was even loyal to him.

On the navy boat, he was told that a dinghy with dynamite was sailing around it.

Ratu Mara said a day later, the army commander, the then Police Commissioner, Col Isikia Savua and some others came on board and asked him to step aside.

He said if the military and the police were against him, there would have been no one with him if he had resisted.