Thursday, March 25, 2010
Bainimarama silences Methodist elders
In a statement, Bainimarama and his government painted a picture of friendly, open and agreeable discussions saying church elders were advised to "review the leadership and refocus on their core role and responsibilities."
The government's spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, said: “The church needs to improve the management of its affairs from its overall vision, its day-to-day activities, and importantly its leadership style and how it is leading the flock. The church members deserve better.”
He said the Fiji Government remains firm that the church should focus on the spiritual development of its members, and not be involved in politics.
Fiji Live says the government delegation at today's meeting included the Police Commissioner Commodore Esala Teleni, the Navy Commander, Francis Kean, and senior military officers in Lieutenant Colonel, Roko Uluilakeba Mara, Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho and Lieutenant Colonel Leweni.
The Methodist Church delegation was led by president Reverend Ame Tugaue, Rev Laisiasa Ratabacaca and all the divisional heads of the church.
Also sppotted among the Methodist church delegation were Rev. Manasa Lasaro, Rev. Tuikilakila Waqairatu and Rev. Tomasi Kanailagi.
Leweni says Bainimarama re-assured the elders that Government supports the church and would like to see it flourish and take on its true role of developing the spiritual foundation of its members.
He said this allayed the misconception that Government is against the church. “Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Government’s concern has always been with the few leaders of the church who have been and continue to be fully engrossed with politics."
“Theses leaders tried to politicise the church and in the process made it appear that Government is against the entire church.”
Leweni was quick to make out church leaders accepted the edict of his government, saying "the meeting this morning ended cordially with more church elders and members having a better appreciation of why the annual conference, divisional and quarterly meetings have been banned."
The government statement ended on this statement that revealed how well it thought it had wrapped everything up, chapter and verse: "The Prime Minister said that the Methodist Church meeting held today will be the last one allowed by Government."