2022 General Election: Army chief praised

Ro Jone Kalouniwai. Picture: FILE

Absolutely fantastic, reassuring and brave.

These were the words used by political party leaders and a human rights activist to describe military Commander Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai’s comments at the Republic of Fiji Military Forces end-of-year parade at Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Monday.

In his address, the RFMF Commander ordered his soldiers to honour the democratic process by respecting the outcome of the votes in the 2022 General Election.

The People’s Alliance deputy party leader Manoa Kamikamica said his message to the soldiers “augurs well for democracy in Fiji”.

“I think Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai has voiced what the bulk of Fiji wants to hear – which is, we wait for the ballot box to decide,” he said.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said, “That’s an absolutely fantastic statement from the Commander and I want to thank him because everybody who believes in democracy, who believes in good governance, who believes in free and fair election, will respect the outcome of the election.”

Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry said Maj-Gen Kalouniwai’s message “should remove the fear that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have been discreetly planting in the minds of the voters, particularly the Indo-Fijian community.”

Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube said the Commander’s assurance came at the right time – one week before the polls.

“Such a statement made under the current oppressive climate cultivated by FijiFirst party (FFP) is a very brave one and reflect the Commander’s strong belief in God,” he said.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) campaign director Jope Koroisavou said the party has full confidence the RFMF “will execute their constitutional duty for the protection of democracy in Fiji”.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator and human rights activist Shamima Ali said the RFMF Commander’s words have allayed the fears of many Fijians who were awaiting the aftermath of the elections “with much trepidation”.

Fiji will go to the polls on December 14.

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