FIJI’S FIRST COUP LEADER APOLOGIZES

The man responsible for Fiji’s first two military coups says the series of coups in the country has been a serious setback for democracy.

Former Fijian army commander and prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Former Fijian army commander and prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka (Credit: AFP)

Major General Sitiveni Rabuka staged two coups in Fiji in 1987 in an attempt to reassert ethnic Fijian supremacy.

He is due to be a keynote speaker at a conference on democracy at University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

“Democracy has suffered it has been wounded. It’s up to us to recover from the wounds and move forward,” he told Radio Australia’sPacific Beat.

He officially apologised for the coups in 2006 saying they were democratically wrong.

He told Radio Australia he hopes Fiji’s new constitution will be framed to ward against coups.

“Hopefully we will come up with a system of government, a constitution, that will prevent future any further military coups,” he said.

He told Radio Australia the country’s culture needed to change to a point where coup-installed governments are no longer accepted by the people.

“We just have to put in place, not a system to prevent coups, but an understanding that coup-de-tats are not the way to go in a democratic society,” he said.

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