Ratu Tevita Mara, Military Musical Chairs and ANZ Policy

Rather old, but still relevant observations

                                                    By a Reader

I want to share my views on the Army and Roko Ului (Ratu Tevita Mara) and the failings of Kiwi and Aussie Diplomacy.

Ratu Tevita and the 3FIR
Roko Ului  is a hypocrite of the highest order. He has stood next to Frank since 2006. Some of the men from his regiment were responsible for the murder of Nimilote Verebasaga in Tailevu. Now he wants to use words like Democracy and Rule of Law to show people what an evil man Frank is. If he didn't know that before 2006 as a mid-ranking officer, his eyes should surely have opened then. Roko Ului was in command of the 3FIR (3rd Fiji Infrantry Regiment). It is the single largest body of active service soldiers in Fiji, with a  large armoury and operational planners who can issue unit orders to deploy men to shut down a functioning government. Without 3FIR, Frank is toothless.

Why didn't Roko Ului do anything? Because the support he claims to have in the ranks
never existed then, and when he ran away to Tonga, those few who would have spoken for
him saw his true colours. He stayed loyal to Frank all these years because he couldn't
believe his luck when Frank removed those above him in the command hierarchy in 2005.

When Frank sidelined Colonels Kadavulevu, Tuatoko, Raduva, Buadromo and Naval Commander
Koroi, the leadership vacuum allowed people like Ului, Aziz, Driti, Tikoitoga in the Army
and Teleni and Francis Kean in the Navy to step into the breech, firmly behind Frank.

Since 2004, Frank has repeatedly changed the senior command of the RFMF to force loyalty
to himself rather than the Institution. What happened to JB - John Baledrokadroka - is a
prime example. More recently we saw more changes with Rokomokoti and Aziz; who Frank has
now firmly cut down to size after the stunt he pulled at Fijian Holdings with his Fiji-
record board allowances and the building of his wife's clinic on Rewa Street.

There has also been wholesale changes in Army Legal Services now that Franks' legal advice comes directly into his ear from other parts. The most interesting case has got to be that of Naivaulurua. Of the old guard, he still has great respect in the Army,  particularly amongst the backbone, the Sergeants and Warrant Officers. Frank was shrewd to move him to Prisons and again to Police. With the promotion of men like Kalouniwai to 3FIR and the quick advance up the ladder for a new, young cadre of officers, Frank has changed the fabric of the RFMF and its notions of loyalty. He has effectively built for
himself a support framework that suggests to any keen observer that he could  intend to stay
the Commander for life.

Good work lost.Taula (L) with Prof Rajesh Chandra

Australia and New Zealand's approach to the Roko Ului issue shows a shocking lack of understanding and bad judgement. But then that's par for their approach since 2006. Do the decision makers in Canberra and Wellington think that giving Roko Ului a visa will force Frank to take them seriously? What do both countries seriously gain by letting himin? If it's to show the region that they remain relevant - OK. But so what?

Tourist numbers from Australia to Fiji are at a record high and  the numbers of Kiwis aren't far behind. It means that despite what their politicians are saying, tourists are using their eyes and brains. They come to Fiji, have a great time and let their friends know. Tourists, your Government's policies towards Fiji are not working. Giving Roko Ului a visa won't change anything in Fiji particularly with the Chinese and Malaysians and Indonesians going full throttle with their infrastructure loans and engagement on a number of levels. They won't learn anything new that their missions in Nuku'alofa  couldn't have learnt.

The reality for both Canberra and Wellington is that Frank has new  friends to the East and the good work that the NZ Acting Head of Mission in Suva Phillip Taula is doing on the ground is being lost in translation in the corridors of Wellington now that people like Tia Barrett are no longer around.


Transparency and Accountability across the boards! said…
Record board allowances? Special deals for close family members while sitting on a board remunerated by public money? It would help Fiji's position and standing in the world greatly if we were now seen to insist that such inequitable and allegedly corrupt payments were quite simply:

Repaid and Replaced in the Public Coffers.

The Public Purse is sorely constrained and public services are suffering. The simplest and most honest solution is to 'reimburse' what has been dishonestly removed.

Do it now: today! Before the arrival of the Australian and New Zealand Foreign Ministers. Show your good faith and remove all doubt about your dealings. We are insisting upon it.

If transparency and accountability are good enough now for the Boy Scouts.....then they should be applied, across the boards of directors elsewhere.
carlene123 said…
It’s arduous to seek out knowledgeable people on this matter, but you sound like you already know what you’re talking about! ThanksWholesale Army Navy

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