22 Oct 2012

Former Fiji military commander reveals research into military thinking

7:37 pm on 22 October 2012

A former land force commander in Fiji, Jone Baledrokadroka, says the Fiji military's role as a peacekeeper in overseas conflicts has helped transform its mindset and influenced its role in recent Fiji politics.

Mr Baledrokadroka has been conducting PhD research at the Australian National University and he presented some of his findings to a gathering of Pacific leaders, experts and academics in New Zealand last week.

He argues there have been unintended consequences of peacekeeping that are pervasive in Fiji's present day military.

He says politicisation of the military also dates from an earlier overseas campaign against communist insurgents, the Emergency of the 1950s.

"It was very much ingrained I say within the military institution from the days of the Malaya campaign where our troops first came into contact with this idea of security, development ... this working together of the state, the government, the people and the security forces."

Mr Baledrokadroka says there needs to be a Commission of Inquiry into the ethos of the military followed by reform of the institution.

He also presented research showing more than 60 members of the military are playing a role in the present day Fiji government.

Mr Baledrokadroka was imprisoned following alleged involvement in a plot to kill the regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

His studies also include the demise of the chiefly order in Fiji and he argues the Commodore sees himself as filling the seat of high chief..