24 Jun 2008

Fiji Women's Dept Directorship appointment slammed

7:42 pm on 24 June 2008

Fiji Human rights Commissioner and Women's Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali has criticised the appointment of new Director of the Women's Department.

Dr Tokasa Leweni, who is a dentist and the wife of acting Information director and military spokesman Neumi Leweni, has replaced long-servicing Department acting director Kiti Makasiale.

Dr Tokasa's appointment follows the recent downgrading of the department from a ministry by the interim administration.

Ms Ali has accused the interim regime of a systematic dismantling of years of work and achievement by the women's movement in Fiji.

"Staff that have been there for years that have worked with GOs, that have built up capacity, and that have been doing quite good work , even though they have always been under-resourced, they have all left, and the going (departure) of Kiti Makasiale, I think that is the final nail in the coffin."

Shamima Ali says the appointment is a case of nepotism but the interim government insists Dr Tokasa's was a legitimate Public Service Commission appointment.