The Ethnic Composition of the RFMF

NEW RECRUITS FOR RFMF. The Prime Minister has announced that 318 RFMF troops and 10 staff officers - who are currently undergoing training - are expected to deploy to the Golan Heights on July 22nd. He also announced that Cabinet has approved a Basic Recruit Course this year with the aim to add 450 personnel to the ranks of the RFMF, followed by another two recruitments of 450 personnel next year.

 Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says currently there are around 1,200 personnel on peace keeping missions in Iraq, Sinai and the Golan Heights. Because of Fiji’s reputation in peace keeping duties, soldiers are on demand, and according to Colonel Tikoitoga, the RFMF are starting to feel the pinch. “To have 1,200 soldiers overseas, you need to have in Fiji, roughly three to four times more than the amount. So that when you bring one back, he can come and stay for four years, after everybody has made their rounds then he can go back. But with the current numbers that we have, you bring one back, and you have to send the guy back in roughly 12 to 18 months because we just don’t have the numbers.” Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says the recruitment drives that are to happen at year’s end and next year, are critical in ensuring the RFMF have enough soldiers on hand. “It’s not only to replace those in the Golan Heights but to keep the soldiers numbers at a reasonable level where we can rotate people in the future and continue to provide and sustain our commitment to peace keeping missions. Click here for a related story.

No mention is made of whether there will be a special effort —or indeed any effort—to redress the unbalanced ethnic composition of the military forces where Indo-Fijians are all but unrepresented.   Previously, the military has said Indo-Fijians are not interested in joining the military forces. 

I would like to hear what readers think of this assertion, and say why they agree, or disagree, with this statement: "The ethnic composition of  Fiji's disciplined forces —the military, the police and corrections service—and the public service should more closely reflect the ethnic composition of the country's population?


Anonymous said…
You are not interested in what others think; you are a racist old white prat who just wants free trips to places.
Tin Corn Beef said…
Then how come he published your comment?

On the other hand... your own website, c45 won't allow the publishing of any opinions they don't agree with. Your c45 is the dictatorial website, while crosbiew is the one promoting the free flow of information.
Joe said…
Croz, Fiji is not about ethnicity anymore, we are all Fijians. The perfect example of "one nation, one people" is on display right now. Who cares about the genetic composition of the members of RFMF, as long as they do the right thing by the citizens, and again it is on display for all to see. Perhaps the most fundamental difference between Rabuka and Frank is again on display as I write. You steer your ship either in the right or the wrong direction, and a bunch of non iTaukei RFMF personnel will not make a difference. In hindsight, if there was an ethnic balance in RFMF, Fiji would be no different to Tamils vs Sinhalese of Sri Lanka. I am saying this with utmost conviction being an Indo myself. Just look at Chaudhry and his mis deeds. the answer lies therein. If you are not convinced, look at his useless son, he would have stopped a bullet by now if he was in the army.
Joe said…
missing out on the gravy train are you? It aint coming back son, go find a job for yourself.
Anonymous said…
The ethnic composition of the military is driven by the aspirations of its potential recruits. This is a universal rule which applies to all volunteer armies. In Fiji this has led to an overwhelming share of Taukies in the forces. While a Taukie loser without much education, little intelligence and a tendency to indolence and laziness is attracted to join the forces, an indian family would want their intelligent children to become professionals with an academic education. If you look at the US army you will find out quickly, that in dangerous combat positions african americans are significantly overrepresented for the same reason. So, let the market decide who wants to be a grunt.
Jr said…
Firstly, I am an iTaukei but please dont judge me and my comment for that.

This is one of the downfalls of trying to label everyone in Fiji Fijians - without proper consultation. It creates exactly what Croz is referring to as ethnic composition and the view of whos doing what etc. It unites us on paper but further divides us in real life. If we accept the notion of everyones a Fijian, should we even care which race does what for Fiji. Or do we adress it as Croz has and ask why dont indo Fijians put their hand up to put their life at risk for Fiji. I know right, right back to where started - race.
Gatekeeper said…
Actually, we do care about 'the genetic composition of the RFMF' just as we care about the genetic composition of any other force which has a daily impact upon our security, safety and thus our lives in general. We would be imbeciles, did we not. What is under consideration here is the:


balance. Although the last will eventually become less relevant. People should be able to function well without religious conviction and without allegiance to organised religion. Any sensible person who has reviewed the history of many religious organisations in Fiji and the Pacific Islands would have reverence for secularism due to egregious abuse over many years.

The balance should show that those who choose to defend the integrity and sovereignty of their country of birth or allegiance are willing to lay down their lives should they be required to do so. They will do this willingly, voluntarily. Should the State find that the voluntary aspect is wanting, then a certain measure of compulsion might be applied. The Israeli Defence Force benefits from the compulsory military service of all members of their population even if they are students at university. Only the observant, orthodox right within Judaism is exempt. No conscientious objectors are tolerated (as they are elsewhere in the world). This gives Israel a source and a base of citizens prepared and able to defend their Homeland - no matter the odds. Switzerland also benefits from a measure of compulsory military service: hundreds of years old. It has been able to stay OUT of war, on numerous occasions when the convulsions were right on the doorstep.

Women will be better placed in Fiji society when they play their part in defending Fiji: if required, with their lives. World Wars One & Two saw the role of women expand in the military. The French Resistance deployed women throughout its organisation. They were barred from no role and when captured they were tortured and killed by the invading force in equal measure. The result was Free France. We cannot expect an enhanced lifestyle while depending upon others to "pay for it". This passivity is inimical to freedom and liberty and is morally untenable.
A Peacekeeping Battalion of women said…
Maybe the Government of India would be prepared to advise with the formation of a Peacekeeping Battalion of women soldiers? It is understood that India has one and it has been deployed in Africa: Liberia and Rwanda? Possibly the DRC (Congo) It is led by female officers. There would be places where such a corps would have particular relevance and effectiveness. The hideous toll of rape in the DRC leaving so many women and children mutilated comes to mind. This is specialised work.
Anonymous said…
Thought you taught statistics, at a third rate non-entity university, of course... but where are the statistics on "The Ethnic Composition of the RFMF".... No statistics at all in this piece.
Anonymous said…
Agree, just some kidn of passive acceptance of a press release. He seems to have lost it, nothing critical, incisive going on with him at all. brain dead really
Rajesh TikoMaiLepanoni said…
> why dont indo Fijians put their hand up to put their life at risk for Fiji.

1.) Because they will be forced to participate in a religion that isn't theirs (eg. group prayers a few times a day, etc)
2.) Because they fear being bullied for being the odd ones out.

The former can be fixed simply by keeping religion a personal matter (no forced group prayer sessions) with soldiers praying on their own or within religious groups of their choice,

The second can be fixed by implementing a temporary quota system (until there are at least 25% indo-fijians in the army). Then indo-fijians won't fear being alienated since they know there will be at least a few other indo-fijians in their platoon.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Anonymous. I presume you refer to my teaching statistics as USP. I actually taught on research methods of which statistics was a small part. And the university I taught at was certainly not a 'third rate non-entity university'. You do not declare the status of a university you attended, assuming that you did. But here's the 1996 figures you sought taken from my book "Fiji: an Encylopaedic Atlas' (page 327): Public Order (police) Fijian 62.6%, Indo-Fijian 32.7%. Defence (military) Fijian 90.5%, Indo-Fijian 4.8%,
I would expect the proportion Fijian to have increased since 1996.


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