5 Mar 2014

Hopes new Fiji military commander will be free of political influence

6:49 am on 5 March 2014

An academic says people of Fiji will be hoping that the new military commander will be utterly professional and have the tenacity to maintain a sense of independence from political influence.

The land force commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, is to become the country's new military commander in a formal televised ceremony today.

The current commander, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, is stepping down so he can launch a political party and contest elections he has promised planned for September.

An Auckland University lecturer in Pacific studies, Dr Steven Ratuva, says Colonel Tikoitoga will have to try and de-politicise, and re-professionalise, the army

"And thirdly to try and build up the trust within the military - amongst the officers, and the rank and file. And also to be able to move the military forward to respond effectively to the demands of the state in a more democratic climate which Fiji presumably will have after the election. So the role of the military in the post- coup period and the post-election period would be very different."

Auckland University lecturer in Pacific studies, Dr Steven Ratuva.