New constitution is the key, says Fiji’s new military chief

Bainimarama makes way for career soldier Mosese Tikoitoga

The new head of Fiji’s military Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga says the country’s new constitution should stay if there is to be no more coups in Fiji. In an exclusive face-to-face interview with Islands Business magazine at the office of the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces inside the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva, Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said the 2013 Constitution the Government of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama passed in September 2013 holds the key to breaking the country’s coup cycle. “Our job is to protect the constitution – coups or no coups these issues are enshrined in the constitution,” said Tikoitoga. “If people throw out the current constitution as some political leaders are suggesting then they have thrown out the chance of avoiding coups. “That will be the answer to the security questions people tend to ask.” According to the new RFMF Commander, the military under his leadership will respect the result of the upcoming general elections. He said this the RFMF would do because that is what is demanded of them under the 2013 Constitution. “Our job is to defend the constitution and our role is provided for in the constitution. “Whatever the result (of the elections), our role will be to support the government of the day and whatever government the people choose. “It’s not our choice, and we base our choice on the will of the people.

“If the people have willed in a new government, it’s our responsibility as a law abiding institution to abide by the will of the people under this constitution.” Brig-Gen Tikoitoga was appointed commander at the recommendation of his predecessor, Commodore now promoted Rear Admiral (retired) Bainimarama. Until his appointment, Tikoitoga was a colonel and held the position of Land Force Commander of the RFMF. He is a career soldier having joined as a private in 1981. He earned his commission as an officer seven years later and has attended staff colleges in Australia and India and holds double degrees in masters in management in defence studies and a master of philosophy in defence and strategic studies.

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