14 Jun 2007

Fiji military commander accuses Methodists of politicking

4:25 pm on 14 June 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has accused Methodist Church leaders of deliberately misleading their followers to achieve their own political agenda.

Radio Legend quotes Commodore Frank Bainimarama as saying church leaders like the Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu would be better off devoting more time to diligently and honestly performing their role as clergymen.

Commodore Bainimarama has also called on the church minister to come out clean on what his real motives are.

He says it is curious that the Reverend Waqairatu is going public with his submission opposing the National Council for Building a Better Fiji with misleading statements.

The interim prime minister says the main reason behind the National Council is to draw up a People's Charter for Change and Progress to revive the economy and create an atmosphere for dialogue.

Commodore Bainimarama says if the Reverend Waqairatu is opposed to such objectives, he is not the right person to speak on behalf of the Methodist Church.

He says the Reverend Waqairatu is trying to whip up indigenous Fijian emotions by bringing up the issue of land in the equation.

Commodore Bainimarama has stressed the rights and ownership of indigenous land is comprehensively protected under the Constitution and it is mischievous of Rev Waqairatu to be putting fear into the minds of Fijian people about land.

He also says it is clear that the Reverend Waqairatu is blowing the trumpet for the ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who he was closely associated with.