The spokesman for the Fiji military government has responded with a "so be it" to the deicison by Methodist Church elders to ask its president, Ame Tugaue, and his general secretary, Tuikilakila Waqairatu, to vacate their positions.
Neumi Leweni has told the Fiji Sun “now that they have made the decision to ask the top two leaders to step aside, surely we will support it."
The Sun quotes Leweni saying: “It is their decision and they know that the Prime Minister had asked them to find a way out and if this is their decision, so be it.”
Tugaue and Waqairatu were asked to step down yesterday, less than 12 hours after 130 Methodist Church elders met with Voreqe Bainimarama and his aides.
At the meeting, elders were told the church had no place getting involved in politics and needed to change direction. A statement from government later had Leweni saying : “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."
The Fiji Sun has the assistant general secretary, Reverend Tevita Nawadra, today saying that after the meeting with Bainimarama, senior ministers had no option but to ask Tugaue and Waqairatu to vacate their office.
Nawadra told the paper Methodist Church leaders gathered at the Centenary Church after meeting with Bainimarama and it was there that it was suggested they support the Government by working with it.
He said most of the discussions were based on the future of the church and the need to move forward.
Nawadra said church ministers agreed they could only move forward if the church agreed with the Government. "This is the only solution the church has at this point in time because most of the senior ministers have agreed to work with the State,” he said.
Nawadra said some ministers asked Tugaue and Waqairatu to step down, saying it was in the best interests of the church. “The only option for the church now is for them to willingly resign from their position. They have asked for time to think about it and will come back to us."