INDEPENDENT NEWS

Coup Motive 'Revealed'

Published: Sun 23 Jul 2000 11:44 AM
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SUVA: The motive behind the overthrow of the democratically elected People's Coalition Government in Fiji has now surfaced, claims the Daily Post in a front page report today.
Caretaker government Deputy Prime Minister and Bau high chief Ratu Epeli Nailatikau yesterday said the people who had been silently supporting the overthrow of Mahendra Chaudhry's cabinet had now come to the fore, the paper reported.
"I know the Daily Post published a story earlier about the Cakobau family supporting George Speight, which they refuted strongly," Ratu Epeli said.
"Now the truth has come out.
"As you all know, the rebel leader [George Speight] wants Adi Samanunu Cakobau to be Fiji's next prime minister."
Questions had been raised on Adi Samanunu's involvement in politics when in her capacity as a diplomat she should not be involved, the paper said.
The Fiji Times reported that Chaudhry admitted yesterday that his life was under threat.
When asked by reporters how his life had been threatened, he replied by "physical arms".
Chaudhry told the paper the threats had come about through statements he made after being released from Parliament and "largely to keep us quiet in maintaining that we are the legitimately elected government".
Chaudhry said he hoped that he would not need to stay in western Viti Levu for too long, adding that something needed to be done about law enforcement
He has two security guards accompanying him which is expected to be increased to four.
The interim President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, yesterday expressed sorrow over the disunity among the Fijian people, the Fiji Sun reported.
He said in an address to the nation in Fijian on Radio Fiji last night that if the Fijians could not be united, then uniting the country would be an exercise in futility.
Ratu Josefa said that although the new direction he sought would ensure the protection of Fijian interests, it would also seek to protect the rights of non-indigenous Fiji Islanders.
He pleaded with Fijians to first try to unite and let good sense prevail.
His address came in the wake of the current impasse over cabinet appointees between Speight's rebel group and the President's office.
Ratu Josefa said the disunity had caused him to take more time in confirming a final group of interim ministers.
He said Fijian interests were being addressed through a detailed blueprint on Fijian aspirations and development presented to the Great Council of Chiefs by caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.
Meanwhile, a rebel supporter charged with a shooting incident outside Parliament on May 27 was acquitted yesterday by Chief Magistrate Salesi Temo.
Isoa Karawa was involved in a skirmish with armed soldiers which landed three troopers in hospital and injured a rebel supporter and a cameraman.
Temo said the Immunity Decree stated anybody associated with Speight who carried out an illegal act would be pardoned by the courts.
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