Home Affairs Ministry to undertake a major Fiji defence review

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Fiji’s Ministry of Home Affairs will soon be undertaking a defence review.

Minister responsible, Pio Tikoduadua said they have discussed the initiative with Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai and both have supported the idea.

Tikoduadua said the Defence Review will be headed by a civilian and an independent panel of experts, with extensive experience in national and international security and defence matters.

“The panel will be drawn from members of academia, civil society, and the security and defence industry and service providers. One of the aims of the Defence Review will be to define in very precise terms, Fiji’s national interest and objectives in the complex and ever-changing global landscape we find ourselves in today. Once this is defined, it will help shape our Foreign and Security policy.”

Tikoduadua said the Defence review will also recommend a national security framework that is envisaged to serve as a foundation for the continued professionalisation of the RFMF.
“It is only reasonable to expect that the people of Fiji want the RFMF to regain ‘strategic fit’ for Fiji’s society. By that I mean, that there is an expectation for the RFMF to reposition itself in society as a loyal servant of the State, and not the Master of It contrary to the delusion that the previous Government promoted. Within the proposed national security framework, we want to use the civilian supremacy model of civil-military relations. It’s long past time to turn the 16-year mess under Fijifirst on this front, right side up.”

Tikoduadua said the RFMF is subject to checks and balances like any other arm of government including parliamentary scrutiny of budgetary issues.

He said as Section 131-2 of the constitution leaves the door open for unwelcome military intervention in politics and Democracy demands that door remains closed.

“If this House is truly representative of the people, then it must reflect the Will of the people. For the sake of Fiji’s future, I appeal to both sides of the House to support the democratisation of our institutions. We must consolidate democracy at all levels of society. Democracy should be the only game in town! There should be no room for autocracy.”

Tikoduadua commended the RFMF for providing Fiji with a secure and firm base for the smooth transfer of power after the 2022 elections where the people of Fiji have resoundingly echoed their voices renouncing autocracy and endorsing a change to genuine democracy.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS