14 Apr 2015

Fiji PM hits back at opposition over race comments

1:26 pm on 14 April 2015

Fiji's Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has condemned comments by the opposition leader regarding a new education policy.

Ro Teimumu Kepa yesterday attacked the government policy to prioritise rural students in the three government-run boarding schools in Suva.

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama Photo: Republika

She said the move by the minister, Dr Mahendra Reddy, was aimed to re-engineer and weaken the iTaukei community and such moves will now be resisted.

Frank Bainimarama called a press conference today to respond.

"Astonishing ignorance and confirmed her unfitness for high office. They are inflammatory, divisive, and a threat to national unity. A threat to national unity in that they cast a government decision that is designed to be fair to all Fijians as a threat to the position of the iTaukei where none whatsoever exists."

Frank Bainimarama says rural families have no choice but to send students to the boarding schools, and urban students have wider options.

He says Ro Teimumu's comments are aimed to create division for political purposes.

Bainimarama slams Fiji Times

Mr Bainimarama has also slammed the Fiji Times newspaper, saying it has attempted to advance its own political interests in its reporting of comments made by the opposition.

The newspaper quoted the opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa's comments.

The Prime Minister says the comments are a threat to national unity, and admonished the Fiji Times for running them.

"The Fiji Times also stands condemned for yet another grossly irresponsible piece of journalism. Rather than report dispassionately and in the interests of national stability, the Fiji Times is controlled by a cabal that manipulates the news agenda and uses inflammatory language to create disunity, division and instability and to advance its own political interests."

Ro Teimumu Kepa, Fiji's SODELPA leader

Ro Teimumu Kepa, Fiji's SODELPA leader Photo: RNZ / Republika