Press Release: FWCC seeks clarification on statement by RFMF Chief of Staff

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre seeks clarification from Brigadier-General Mohammed Aziz, Chief of Staff of the RFMF, on his reported statement that "the RFMF would work with the Prime Minister to see that he retains leadership after the 2014 elections".

Speaking to the Fiji Sun (Fiji Sun 6/4/2013), Aziz also reportedly stated that "the new political direction the nation is experiencing can only be carried forward by the Prime Minister and his Government."

"Brigadier-General Aziz and the RFMF need to clarify to the people of Fiji exactly what he means by his statement that the RFMF would work "to see" that the Prime Minister retains leadership after the 2014 elections" said Shamima Ali, Coordinator of the FWCC. "Does he mean that the RFMF will not accept election results if Commodore Bainimarama's party is not elected into government? If this is the case, then why are is the regime going through the expense and time to draft a constitution and hold elections?"

Ali added that the RFMF needed to clarify how it intended to ensure that Commodore Bainimarama was elected. "Is the RFMF going to campaign for Commodore Bainimarama's political party? The regime's own draft constitution defines military officers as public officials - how can the RFMF reconcile its status as public officials and the need for it to be impartial and to support the elected government, irrespective of which party it is comprised of,  with its overt support for a particular political party?" queried Ali. "While Brigadier-General Aziz has the right as an individual to support any political party, his comments that the RFMF will work to influence the political process towards a particular outcome is troubling and does not bode well for the future of democracy in Fiji."

Ali added that it was essential that the RFMF and the regime explain to the people of Fiji what the military's role will be, leading up to, and post, the proposed 2014 elections. "The people of Fiji must be told whether, if the Bainimarama political party loses at the 2014 election, the military will respect the democratic process and work with the incoming government."

 

For further information contact:

Shamima Ali   9992875