Methodist Church Clean Up 'Long Overdue' Rev Koroi Tells Fiji Times

The Rev Koroi, always a moderate church leader, tells of when he was ousted as President by present Church leader Manasa Lasaro after the 1987 Coup. He says today's  problems can be traced to these earlier political events, and tells how the media story of his being forced to go to the Barracks got it wrong.

The Fiji Times Story
Former church president Reverend Josateki Koroi said the church did not have to wait all these years for a reconciliation to be done. In 1989 and while he was church president, a group from within the church led by firebrand minister and the current secretary of the Welfare Department, Reverend Manasa Lasaro, forcibly ousted Mr Koroi from office. Mr Koroi said on two previous occasions when attempts were made for the parties to reconcile, Mr Lasaro backed out. He said reconciliation hinged on Mr Lasaro. "He should take the first step to confess, to realise and admit that he has done wrong," he said. "He has not done that."

Mr Koroi said the problems affecting the church today were linked to the wrongdoings of the past.
Last night, Mr Lasaro - who was charged with church president Reverend Ame Tugaue and general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu for breaching the Public Emergency Regulations - told The Fiji Times he was sick and could only comment when he resumes work.

The Government cancelled the church's three-day conference after Mr Tugaue and Mr Waqairatu did not abide by directives for them not to lead the conference. Military land force commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said the two faced charges and should not chair the conference but the church insisted that they are still innocent until proven guilty.

Speaking at a media conference, he rejected media reports that soldiers tried to force Mr Koroi into a van to meet the army commander. Mr Koroi agreed the reports were misled.
"Someone told me that they heard that I was physically harassed to go to the camp," he said. "No, the harassment was by word."

He said during a visit to the Methodist Church headquarters, church president Mr Tugaue asked him if he could chair the conference meeting but he refused. "Just look at me, 'iko e cava - rere? O lamu?' I told him no one has the right to preside over the conference," he said. "I told him if you and Tuikilakila are not courageous enough to stand up for this conference, you better step down. If you are afraid - say so."

Mr Koroi said the only way someone could preside over the conference was if the president suddenly died during the conference or if he had to step down over a disciplinary matter. After the cancellation of the meeting, the church said one of its first tasks was to seek reconciliation with Mr Koroi for the events of 1989.


Come on, Croz said…
Hang on,Croz, how can this be wrong. Koroi says he was verbally harassed, not physically so. So was he verbally abused or threatened. This wording still leaves open the possibility. I no longer believe anything I read in the Fiji papers. It's all being censored. So as if the Fiji Times would be allowed to publish any story endorsing the overseas reports. No one has denied that Koroi told the soldiers that if they wanted him to go to the camp, they'd have to shoot him and take his body. This suggests a much more serious confrontation than you are suggesting here. Time to start questioning the official line, don't you think? You've laid out the moral issues. How about taking a stand on them.

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