Caught out

Fiji Opposition move forces Bainimarama’s hand

MAJOR-General Jioji (George) Konrote has been feted as Fiji’s first non-iTaukei President but he is, in fact, much more.
The Rotuman career soldier and diplomat is Fiji’s first President by default. For until the week before Fijian Prime Minister, Rear-Admiral Frank Bainimarama, nominated Konrote – his Industrial Relations minister – to the position, the man had not even featured on the short list.
Instead, those slated for the presidency were:
* Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Jiko Luveni
* Former Police Commissioner, Major-General Iowane Naivalurua
* Ro Epeli Mataitini, Vunivalu of Rewa
* Ambassador and former High Court Judge Nazhat Shameem.
Those were the names leaked to the Fiji Sun by Bainimarama in order to gauge the reactions of the Fijian people and their support for his
Naivalurua and Mataitini were red herrings, placed on the list to see whether there would be a reaction to the inclusion of the iTaukei elite or former military people.
What was foremost in Bainimarama’s mind would have been the need to have a former military person in the Presidency or, at the very least, someone who would follow his orders without question.
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