17 Dec 2004

Fiji PM blames standoff with military for sacking home affairs minister

9:10 am on 17 December 2004

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he's dropped Joketani Cokanasiga from the home affairs ministry, because of the continuing standoff between the government and the military.

In a cabinet reshuffle yesterday, Mr Cokanasiga was sent to the back benches and replaced by the former minister for transport and civil aviation, Joe Vosanibola.

Mr Qarase said it had become increasingly obvious that there was a continuing problem in communication, between the army and government, which was causing unease and confusion in the public mind.

Mr Qarase said he'd decided that the best way to deal with this situation was to bring in a new minister.

Mr Qarase said he'd asked the new minister to convene a meeting with the commander, and his senior officers. to clarify all aspects of the relationship between the government and the army, and to make a new start.

He said a proper line of communication must be re-established, because the president's role as commander-in-chief was not an executive function.