23 Feb 2006

Fiji military describes merger of ruling parties as threat to stability

8:08 am on 23 February 2006

Fiji's military says the merger of the ruling SDL party with its coalition partner, the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua, is a threat to national stability.

It says this is because the merger is ethno-nationalism at its worst.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says the merger confirms concerns the military has had since 2000 about the selfish political tactics of those who will stop at nothing to achieve their political ambitions.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says for the SDL to accept the Conservative Alliance is a betrayal of the trust the military placed in Laisenia Qarase when it appointed him interim prime minister after the coup and later backed his elected government.

He says while nationalism such as that seen in the South Pacific Games and the World Cup Sevens is good, race based nationalism breeds hatred and instability.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says since 1978 Fiji soldiers have served in countries broken down by hatred and mayhem, but the military does not want to see that happen to its own people.

He says as the institution constitutionally charged with the defence, security and wellbeing of Fiji and its people, the military will continue to voice its concerns on matters that impinge on this.