Sydney: Fiji`s military strongman, who
seized power in a coup nearly four years ago, has defended his
rule-by-decree regime and strict censorship rules, saying he
does not trust his own people.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said in an interview
shown on Australian television today that only the military
could bring about the reforms the country needed and that
dissent could not be tolerated until they were complete.
The military chief told ABC television he did not trust
politicians or the public to return the impoverished Pacific
island nation to democracy by 2014, by when he has promised
the first democratic polls since he toppled the nation`s
elected premier in 2006.
"I don`t trust the people," the bluntly spoken leader
said, defending strict media censorship that includes censors
stationed in newsrooms and new rules that look set to force
the country`s oldest newspaper to shut down.
The iron-fisted restrictions were necessary to silence
critics who could destabilise the unspecified reforms aimed at
uniting the racially divided nation, he said, shrugging off
the label of "dictator."
"We can`t bring about changes if there are people that are
still talking about bringing instability. Because if we do
that, I can tell you, ... (if) we open this to the public,
we`ll never have election in 2014.