RFMF expresses concern

January 17, 2023 4:30 pm

RFMF Commander, Major General Jone Kalouniwai. [Source: Republic of Fiji Military Forces / Facebook]

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces is concerned with regard to the sweeping changes of the current government to establish a firm transition of power and democratic control as the government of the day.

RFMF Commander, Major General Jone Kalouniwai says that given that Fiji is a very new democracy and given our unfortunate past experience of governments exceeding or attempting to exceed its powers, section 131 of the Constitution ensures that the RFMF plays a guardian role where the excesses of the past are not repeated and any new assaults on our emerging democracy are not tolerated.

Major General Kalouniwai says this provision is also in place to ensure that the values and principles of democracy including the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution are not undermined.

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He adds the RFMF has quietly observed with growing concern over the last few days, the ambition and speed of the government in implementing these sweeping changes are creating shortcuts that circumvent the relevant processes and procedures that protect the integrity of the law and the Constitution.

The Commander says while the RFMF recognizes the justifications by the current government to establish these changes, it believes that trying and failing to democratize in adverse circumstances has the potential to bring about fateful, long-term national security consequences.

He adds the RFMF is concerned, about whether these rapid changes are being pursued without a full understanding of the process and procedures or intentionally done to challenge the integrity of the Law and the Constitution of this land.

Whatever the reasons may be, the Commander says the RFMF feels that such actions and decisions are putting at risk the very nature of the law and the separation of powers that clearly demarcate the independence of the three arms of government.

Kalouniwai says the RFMF firmly believes that the separation of powers between the executive and the judicial arms of the state must be respected.

He stresses it must be important to understand and appreciate that a strong rule of law is built on respect for and adherence to a clear separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.