1 Mar 2006

Fiji coup convicts upset by political merger

11:31 am on 1 March 2006

The Fiji coup front man, George Speight, and 137 others in jail for coup related offences are reported to be opposing the recent merger of their Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua into the ruling SDL party.

The Fiji Sun reports that the former party general secretary, Ropate Sivo, has produced a letter from the prisoners opposing the merger because the SDL-led government had failed to ensure their freedom by not passing the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mr Sivo says the letter was given to the current party general secretary, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, to table at their annual general meeting but he failed to do so.

Among the prisoners who voiced their opposition were Speight, the former Fiji Intelligence Service director, Metuisela Mua; the former NLTB lawyer, Tevita Bukarau; and the former deputy Speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure.

Jailed soldiers of the disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit which staged the coup and the November 2000 mutiny also opposed the merger.

But Ratu Josefa Dimuri says he did not receive the letter from the prisoners.

Ratu Josefa says it was not important to take the merger motion to prison for approval by coup prisoners, but it did not mean they had been forgotten.