By Jone Baledrokadroka former Land Force Commander
According to Bainimarama his once annointed and die-hard partners in high treason, Commanding Officer 3FIR Lt Colonel Roko Ului Mara and my successor as Land Force Commander, Brigadier Pita Driti, have simply ‘taken all outstanding leave’ and have not been suspended from military duties.
So goes the regime’s official media release. Sounds quite familiar as the dictator’s axe dropped, oh, so close to him again. The succession plan that we all thought had been so meticulously put in place by our self-installed strongman Prime Minister, seems to have back fired in recent weeks.
To close military regime watchers, the media release gobbledegook masked the Commodore’s double speak for shafting his once two most powerful lieutenants before sending them off to Coventry, just like his former best mate Esala Teleni.
If there is one thing Bainimarama is consistent on, it is his despotic and crafty way of despatching senior military officers, all in the name of power!
Bainimarama’s favoured method of booting out a whole generation of officers from the year 2000, has been to suspend those he suspects of being ‘disloyal’ by ordering them to take up all leave entitlements, pending investigations.
The list is long and some might even venture to say noble: They are Colonels: F Tarakinikini (pictured right, with George Speight) U Vosabalavu, J Kadavulevu, A Tuatoko, J Koroi (N), Raduva,J Koroi (Army), A Buadromo, J Baledrokadroka, S Raravula, S Vatu, E Caucau, M Saubulinayau, Majors: Vosaki and many more.
Once leave is taken, and with doctored investigations conducted, none of these officers have ever returned to duties or, similarly, have ever been charged. All have quietly disappeared from the RFMF payroll with no redress of wrong.
In the past, all of these ‘suspended’ officers have been nonchalantly discarded with the final nod from a pliant senile President as Commander-in-Chief and in consultation with a conspiratorial Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel Paul Manueli (pictured left).
Many other senior officers resigned quietly in disgust at the unprofessional leadership on display from 1999 onwards. This batch included: Lieutenant Colonels: L Korovavala, V Seruvakula,M Manulevu, P Hennings, S Pickering, S Senibulu, O Rabukawaqa, J Pickering and Majors: Waqabuli, M Bulivou, M Nawaqaliva D Chang,Captains: R Narayan, M Dreu, Lietenants: B Hong Ty, E Tuivanuavou and many more.
It seems the only officers now capable of replacing the nervous dictator is the over eager Police/Prisons Commissioner Ioane Naivalurua, his brother-in-law, Commander Kean, and a gullible chief of staff/CO 3FIR Lt Colonel, Jone Kalouniwai.
The only other plausible successor(s) the El Supremo is banking his legacy of decay and deceit on, is Brigadier Aziz Mohamed or Attorney General Aiyaz Khaiyum judging by the recent axing of ex military officers: Director Public Prosecution Captain S. Rayawa, former courts registrar Major A.Rokomokoti and former deputy director FICAC, Lieutenant colonel G. Langman.
But it's a move that would not go down well with the 99% Fijian military.
The reality of the dictator’s situation is that his only political constituency - the military - will need to be well-fed and purged, simultaneously, to keep him in power everyday he awakens.
Because no doubt he will need eyes at the back of his head or sleep with one eye open in the weeks to come. It goes with the territory, they say.