14 Jun 2005

Fiji government disappointed with President refusing to suspend military commander

7:28 pm on 14 June 2005

Fiji government officials are reported to be disappointed that President Iloilo has not suspended the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, for insubordination.

Radio Legend reports that the home affairs minister wrote to the president last week asking him to suspend Commodore Bainimarama for disobeying orders by making public statements against the government.

But President Iloilo rejected the request.

Radio Legend says senior government officials, who have not been named, are reported to be concerned that this is the second time that President Iloilo has rejected the advice given o him by the Qarase government.

Last year President Iloilo turned down a government request to appoint a commission of inquiry into allegations by disgruntled army officers that Commodore Bainimarama was making contingency plans to overthrow the Qarase government.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, was reported to have visited President Iloilo last Wednesday with a request that he intervene in the stand-off between the military commander and the government.

Meanwhile, a longtime former cabinet minister, Filipe Bole, says the vice-president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, who is a former High Court judge, would be an ideal adviser to the president during difficult times.