1 Nov 2007

Fiji Methodists accused of sowing seeds of racial hatred

2:17 pm on 1 November 2007

The executive director of the Citizens Constitutional Forum, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says he agrees with the statement made Fiji's interim prime minister that the Methodist Church has been sowing the seeds of racial hatred since it backed the Rabuka coups in 1987.

The Reverend Yabaki, who is a former Methodist minister, says the Church leadership supported the Rabuka and Speight coups but the big question is why they have changed their stance on the military takeover in December.

He says the basis of the three coups is quite different.

The Reverend Yabaki says the first two were seen as racially motivated but the December coup was against a Fijian-led government.

He says he was part of the Methodist Church leadership in 1987 as its communications secretary, but was told to leave when he opposed the Rabuka coup.

The Methodist Church president in 1987, the Rev Josateki Koroi, was also removed in a church coup for his opposition to the Rabuka coup.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama told the Sydney Morning Herald that the leadership of the Methodist Church is part of a traditional conspiracy of power against ordinary indigenous Fijians.

He claimed church ministers, chiefs and politicians keep ordinary Fijians suppressed so they can take advantage of them.

He said church preachers, chiefs and provincial councils decide who rural Fijians should vote for and they go along with that.