Fiji’s military leader, Frank Bainimarama has been described as a “dumb foot soldier.” The description was made by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi in a statement issued by the Press Secretariat on Thursday night.
The statement follows reports from Fiji that Bainimarama’s regime had burnt copies of a new Constitution drawn up with funds from New Zealand and Australia.
Told that the Military has denied torching Constitution draft papers, Tuilaepa said; “Who would you believe? An internationally-acclaimed professor of law or a dumb foot soldier?”
The professor in question is Kenyan law professor YashGhai. Last year, Bainimarama commissioned him to draft a new Constitution.
After it was presented last month, police seized copies of it and burnt printer's proofs.
The Ghai document proposes to force the military out of political life and make it permissible for soldiers to disobey an order to take part in a coup.
Tuilaepa said the actions of Bainimarama’s regime are “despicable.”
“First they bring over this respected internationally-recognized man who has drafted numerous constitutions around the world to help them draft a constitution document. Then they do this to him?” said Tuilaepa.
“Where is their responsibility to New Zealand and Australian taxpayers who contributed to funding that constitutional draft?”
The Prime Minister said most countries – including Samoa – know better about “constitutional processes than the inexperienced military gang in Suva.”
The latest incident, Tuilaepa said, confirms fears that Fiji’s military regime does not plan to leave anytime soon.
“It’s just dirty tricks to engineer a constitution that will save their skin and legitimize their hold on power.
“The military regime has no intention of relinquishing power and ushering in a democratically-elected government.”
Tuilaepa said Bainimarama’s promise to hold elections is a lie.
“He has had over six years to prepare for it. It’s time he came out and showed some maturity and take responsibility. Enough of this kids rubbish.”