Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Singh questions Bainimarama on "real motives"

Singh questions Bainimarama on "real motives"
MARY RAUTO - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

INTERIM Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is disingenuous about returning Fiji to parliamentary democracy, said Movement for Democracy chairman Attar Singh who questioned his motives.

"The electoral reforms and implementation of the Peoples Charter are all being used as an excuse," he said.

Mr Singh made the remarks when asked to comment on the Samoa's PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi condemnation of Mr Bainimarama and his military junta.

"The time has now come to pose to Bainimarama the real question what does he really want in return to let the country back to elections and return the country to the people?" Mr Singh posed rhetorically.

"In my view the issue of electoral reform and discussion and acceptance of the Peoples Charter cannot be the real issue.

"If they were real issues then it is within Bainimarama's current powers to bring about those issues and the fact that he is not doing so and continues to use them as reasons to delay election indicates that there are other issues, which really need discussions before can get to elections."

When contacted yesterday, Mr Bainimarama referred questions to his Permanent Secretary Parmesh Chand. Chand was in meetings all afternoon and could not be reached.

Mr Malielegaoi, in an interview with the Samoan newspaper Savali, last week, said he was convinced that Bainimarama had no intention of relinquishing power and returning Fiji to democratic government.

"On the eve of the summit in Port Moresby, the leaders were told that Bainimarama made a statement to his troops that he needs five years in government," said Mr Malielegaoi.

"After the meeting, the leaders were told by sources in Fiji that Bainimarama has this time told his army generals in a meeting that he'll need up to ten years of military rule in Fiji.

"Therefore, that's a clear indication that Bainimarama has no intention whatsoever of holding general elections and returning his country to democratic rule."

Military spokesperson Major Neumi Leweni said he would comment today. Major Leweni had earlier criticised Mr Malielegaoi for his attacks on the interim regime.

He had said Mr Malielegaoi's criticism was indicative of his allegiance to New Zealand,

Meanwhile, Mr Malielegaoi has drawn opposition from his countrymen for his comments, which were labeled as stupid interference.

Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, leader of the Samoa Democratic Party, said Samoa should mind its own business and that it was wrongful interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.

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