8 Jun 2005

Fiji military defends commander's right to public comment

9:45 am on 8 June 2005

Fiji's military has challenged the government to take disciplinary action against its commander for speaking out publicly.

And it says there is no law against Commodore Bainimarama speaking publicly on issues of national security.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has told Fiji TV that government claims that Commodore Bainimarama should not speak publicly is their interpretation, not the military's.

Captain Leweni says all the government talk about disciplinary action has been only through the media, not directly to the military.

Meanwhile, the home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, told Radio Legend in a separate report that if he had the powers to discipline Commodore Bainimarama he would have done it, but he does not.

Mr Vosanibola said only President Iloilo, as commander-in-chief of the military, can take action against the commander.