The FBC’s 4 The Record interview with interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night.
Report – By Ritika Pratap in Suva and Pacific Media Watch
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed the names of people he alleges were behind the attempted Fiji coup of May 2000.
In a lengthy interview on the state-run Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) TV’s 4 The Record programme last night, Bainimarama, who was then military commander, named two men who he says were calling the shots while George Speight acted as the front man.
One of those men was a former minister in the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) government, the late Savenaca Draunidalo.
“He was a good friend of mine. He was part of the coup in 2000. He was waiting at the Travelodge (now Holiday Inn) to move into Parliament and take over the military part of George Speight’s group. He was part of the people who were behind the scenes and he was waiting at the Travelodge to go into Parliament.”
As the military commander, Bainimarama had access to information that many people until today have not been privy to.
In a rare moment, speaking openly about the upheavals of 2000, he singled out Iliesa Duvuloco as the main instigator – and the man who brought George Speight into the picture.
This, according to Bainimarama, was told to him by Maciu Navakasuasua – the man who led Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit soldiers into Parliament.
“Duvuloco came with George Speight – he was even surprised when he saw the CRW soldiers. He [Maciu Navakasuasua] says who’s this guy, and Duvuloco says this is George Speight, he’s going to lead you into Parliament, he’s going to take you because he speaks very well.”
Duvuloco, who was the leader of the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party, served 187 months’ imprisonment. However, Bainimarama believes he got off lightly.
‘Correcting the lies’
As leader of the Fiji First party contesting the election next Wednesday, Bainimarama also said on 4 The Record that part of his programme – apart from going out there to win votes – was to try to correct the lies he alleged were spread by other politicians.
Bainimarama said he was telling the people in rural areas that this was a very important election for them and they needed to make the right choice.
“I want to make clear and tell the people listen to me, let me tell you what is exactly happening in our country with regards to the economy, with regards to the Land Bank, with regards to the Constitution. So when you vote, you don’t have to be lied to – to make that tick.
“And it’s most unfair. I have been telling them where I go to, whenever I speak to the people I tell them that it is most unfair when people – supposedly people who have held positions in the government – ratus and adis – and they sit down with the community and they tell them this is what is happening – knowing full well that most of our people in the rural areas have not read the Constitution.
“So they interpret the constitution in such a way to get the people feeling very shaky about what we have done – the government that is – so on that note they say don’t vote for Fiji First – there are a lot of lies being spread, so I go around and tell them – this is what is in the Constitution.”
Bainimarama said this opportunity to choose a government would not come around again for the next four years.
PMW note: Those named in this story were featured in the 2006 Nine Network Sunday programme report Fiji – Democracy and the Gun by Graham Davis.
Source: Pacific Media Watch 8962