Leadership change in Fiji’s Military
A young Fijian man who marched in as a private in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces more than 30 years ago is now head of Fiji’s 4,000-strong force. Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga is from the southern island province of Kadavu, from Muani Village in the district of Ravitaki. Where he comes from, the people are traditionally referred to as Waikatakata, Fijian term for boiling water. In a career that has now span 33-years, Brigadier General Tikoitoga has served in dangerous and troublesome spots around the world like Lebanon, Sinai, East Timor (now Timor Leste) and Iraq, first as a private and later as an officer. He succeeded Commodore (now promoted to Rear Admiral) Frank Bainimarama as head of the RFMF on 5 March 2014. The Brigadier General is married to dietician Mrs Jiutajia Saukuru and they have two girls and a boy.
Congratulations on your appointment Brigadier General, could you talk briefly about your career?: I had two stints in Australia. First I went across in mid 1998 on attachment to the Australian Defence Force as an instructor at the Land Warfare Centre and I came back in December 2000 then returned to the Staff College later on. That was a good experience for me having travelled abroad extensively on a number of operations on various duties. It was the first time I was going with my family in a different culture and country living amongst totally different people.
We learnt to live in a different society and then acknowledged the different backgrounds of people we lived amongst. I have never shied away from any responsibility. I have come through the ranks. I joined the then Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1981 as a private and stayed a private until I attended officer training in 1988. So I served a couple of years as a private. I made three tours to the Middle East as a private – two to Sinai and one to Lebanon and being promoted to the rank of corporal so that gave me all the experiences of a soldier’s life.
I came back and I was recommended for officer training by my Commanding Officer in Lebanon in 1986 at the time Major General George Konrote. In 1989 I got my promotion as an officer and I did my necessary training and posting. I have served in the Third Fiji Infantry Regiment (3FIR) and in overseas battalions from the position of platoon commander, adjutant OC, Operations Officer and as a staff officer at the RFMF headquarters. I also served as Chief of Staff Operations before I became Land Force Commander. Through these phases of my career, the lesson is that if we are consistent in our performance, we are bound to get recognised by our superiors.
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