Any suggestions of taking extra constitutional steps to preserve constitutional structures goes against democratic principles the RFMF have sworn to uphold - Commander

Any suggestions of taking extra constitutional steps to preserve constitutional structures goes against democratic principles the RFMF have sworn to uphold - Commander

By Vijay Narayan , Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 01/07/2023
Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai [Image: File]

Any suggestions of taking extra constitutional steps to preserve constitutional structures goes against the very democratic principles we at the RFMF have sworn to uphold.

Those are the stern words of the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai during the Commander's Parade at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Major General Kalouniwai says as members of the RFMF, they must and will commit to upholding the security, defence and well-being of Fiji and its people by supporting and strengthening the existing democratic processes.

He says in the recent days, there has been talk of growing concerns of the potential breakdown of the rule of law in Fiji.

The Commander says this has been accompanied by suggestions that the Republic of Military Forces intervenes under Section 131 (2) of the 2013 constitution.

That section states that it shall be the overall responsibility of the RFMF to ensure at all times the security, defence and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians.

Major General Kalouniwai says as the institution of the RFMF, they will be committed to upholding the constitution and its value ensuring at all times their actions are aligned with the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

He stresses that any deviation from the constitution would undermine the values and principles they see to protect. Major General Kalouniwai says it is for that reason that the entities within our state must respect and abide by the constitution to safeguard its integrity enabling a prosperous future for Fiji.

He urges the Government, Members of Opposition and all independent entities to recommit to the constitutional process and uphold the values and principles laid out.

Major General Kalouniwai says they believe that by respecting the processes outlined in the constitution, the stability, trust and credibility of our institutions will be maintained.

He says any non-adherence to the constitution could lead to civil, political, social and economic strife.

The Army Commander says they believe it is therefore crucial that our civil affairs today is addressed through lawful means in order to foster a culture of democratic accountability.

He says for that, the RFMF calls on the nation's leaders to constructive dialogue to rectify current challenges and reaffirm their commitment to democracy, the rule of law and the well-being of our citizens.

The Commander urges them to trust the constitutional process that whatever decisions they make is done for the people, by the people.

He says the RFMF also wishes to reassure and remind our fellow Fijians that they are here for each and everyone of them regardless of ethnicity, race or gender and they will remain steadfast in their commitment to always ensure their safety and well-being at all times.

He says they will stay true to their principles of honour, integrity and loyalty and uphold the values that make the institution a beacon of optimism, courage and hope.

Major General Kalouniwai told the soldiers that let not fear consume us, rather than it ignite us with the fire within us to help our people fulfill their dream for a Fiji that is peaceful, prosperous and united at all times.

The Commander's statement comes after a leaked unsourced seditious document was circulated on social media, calling on the RFMF to intervene after some decisions made by the coalition government.

Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua has confirmed that Police are investigating the leaked document.

Following the confirmation by Tikoduadua, Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations (ACP/O) Livai Driu says the Fiji Police Force would like to ask members of the public not to be easily swayed by rumours or information circulating on social media about purported plans aimed at destabilizing the security of our nation.

ACP Driu says Police are looking into the matter and he calls on people to be calm as Police are committed to their safety and security.

ACP Driu says Police operations are focused on providing safety and security and there is nothing to be concerned about in as far as national security is concerned.

He also stresses for people to continue to source information from trusted reliable sources such as news media outlets or verified social media pages.

When asked on whether some people will be questioned, Police say they have started the investigation and will make further comments later.

fijivillage News also contacted Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu earlier this week, and he has rejected the allegations against the FijiFirst circulating on social media.

Seruiratu says “the simple answer to your question is No, this is not an official FijiFirst document.”

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