Frank Bainimarama

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Commodore Frank Bainimarama is the Commander of the Fijian Military Forces and a former acting Head of State.


  • All the nation has been saddened by the extent to which the country has fallen during the last week. I have therefore, with much reluctance, assumed executive authority.
  • If we don't put our foot down, they will release every man and his dog.
    • (Criticizing the government's policy of releasing persons sentenced for involvement in the 2000 coup).


  • If we don't act, this country is going to go to the dogs and no investor will want to come here.
    • (8 December 2004).


  • You have to give it (the tiger) room. If you don't give it room, it will bite you.
    • (4 January 2005; seen as a veiled threat to politicians not to interfere with the military).
  • I don't have to be nice to people who are causing great damage to the nation … I refuse to be nice to people who want to overthrow what the military and the security forces have been doing to maintain law and order in this country in the past five years since the illegal overthrow of the Labour Government … I refuse to be nice to people like Jioji Kotobalavu and Qoriniasi Bale. I don't have to be nice to anyone trying to destabilise what the army has built.
    • (30 May 2005).

Excerpts from an address to Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, 28 July 2005[edit]

  • When we wrong God, he does not let us go, he makes us pay for our wrongs but through the death of his own son Jesus Christ. When God's people (Jews) wronged him, he weakened them in battle and caused them to be captives in Babylon for 70 years.
  • "Let's do right in the eyes of God!"
  • "Coups will be taken lightly if we condone this Bill, without justice there is no peace. If you honourable chiefs agree that those involved in the coup be forgiven, it will prove that we support the wrong and will be at odds with the integrity of God."
  • "Our Fiji today is a new Fiji where individual freedom is protected and not a Fiji solely for Fijians. Wise decisions from this august house will promote multiracial harmony and true friendship.
  • "This Bill is not about crime committed within one group of people but involves many races living in Fiji. Therefore we can not apply one law onto another. We need to protect the whole population; the different faiths; cultures and traditions."
  • "The Bill will legitimise the 2000 coup and will weaken the law and order agencies. All the good work of rebuilding Fiji to what it is today will be undone. The freeing of anyone (even if their crimes are politically-motivated) will show to the world that we are a nation that condones law breakers. It also means that we support terrorists as the Police Commissioner has commented."
  • "Why should only a few people be freed and not others when we are all serving under the same law?"
  • "When we wrong God, he does not let us go, he makes us pay for our wrongs but through the death of his own son Jesus Christ. When God's people (Jews) wronged him, he weakened them in battle and caused them to be captives in Babylon for 70 years."
  • "The military stand is that reconciliation is only possible after justice is served."
  • "Who's promoting the Bill? These are people in the current Government who participated in the 2000 coup. Some have been convicted, others are facing trial, there are still others left whom the long arm of the law should get at."
  • "Following the 2000 coup, this august house did not agree to forgive the perpetrators but you decided that justice will take its course. You are confronted with a similar decision now. The military humbly requests that you display the same wisdom then to protect our land now."
  • "Remember the words of the Bible in Amos 5:24, 'Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-falling stream'."

Reaction to statements in Parliament from Senator Apisai Tora, 23-24 August 2005[edit]

Reported by Fiji Village news service.

  • "Those threats they (Apisai Tora and Tomasi Vakatora) came up with should be condemned. He (Tora) has come up with the same threats that politicians like him throw up before elections. That if any other party especially Labour wins, there will be instability … These people are forcing the population to vote out of fear. These types of talks have to be condemned now."
  • "This confirms the RFMF view that the Bill has nothing to do with Reconciliation and everything to do with the selfish agenda that George Speight brought into Parliament in 2000 to gather support and ensure his leadership. We better stop lying to ourselves, we better stop these people lying to us."

Reaction to calls from Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer for the Military to stay out of politics (30 September 2005)[edit]

From a press conference at Suva's Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

  • "As long as this bill hangs over our heads there is no credibility in what people in leadership do."
  • "The passing of the bill will be a continuation of all the events of 2000."
  • "I told Mr Downer that I was disappointed with his comments and said that we should stay out of politics. I told him his country has not experienced a coup to feel what the military went through here. He can't compare the situation there to this side."
  • "We were never involved in politics. It was the political party that pushed their agenda, the Bill, forward and we only reacted to the consequences the Bill would bring."
  • "We are not interfering with any political agenda or plan. We are only doing our job and that is on the grounds of security."
  • "This is where we are coming from. The Bill is a continuation of the 2000 coup and it is the consequences of the Bill that we are looking at."
  • "We are not going to take this Bill for granted. We asked them (the Daily Post reporters) to leave the room because they are for the Bill. And if they are for the Bill, this means they are anti-RFMF."
  • "We will maintain our stand despite criticisms." (on being told by Downer that the international community would not be happy about the Military's intervention in the political arena).

Warning to the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 March 2006[edit]

Quoted in the Fiji Sun, 9 March 2006.

  • "I don’t think they should be discussing the Bill. It represents the lies of those that took the people into Parliament. The same opportunists are using the GCC to push the Bill through."
  • "There are two things that need to be taken away. First the lies and this government which needs to follow the law and imprison those implicated in the coup. The chiefs are being used just like those that have been made to believe that there is $6million in the bank for them. This Bill was pushed by the SDL party, the very same people that supported what happened in 2000 and there are opportunists seating in the council looking to mislead the council."

Quotes about Frank Bainimarama[edit]

  • Colonel Ioane Naivalurua, Land Force Commander but now illegal Commissioner of Prison: "Courageous, strong and … a saviour of Fiji in this time of need". (23 June 2005).
  • Senator Adi Koila Nailatikau and now interim military government minister: "The commander is doing a wonderful job because he is not only speaking in his personal capacity as Commander. He is speaking as the Commander of the Fiji battalion in Fiji and those serving overseas, and he has the support of the silent majority." (24 July 2005, referring to Bainimarama's opposition to the Reconciliation and Unity Bill (q.v).
  • Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer: "I do not see the Military Commander of Fiji as a political player in all this. Let me make this very clear: it is not the job of a military commander to play politics; it is the job of the military commander to command troops and the Government is to decide where those troops get deployed, whether to Iraq or RAMSI. It is not the role of the commander to play domestic politics." (29 September 2005, on Bainimarama's opposition to the Reconciliation and Unity Bill (q.v).
  • Senator James Ah Koy: "I think he is doing a good job and I really support him for his strong words against Mr Downer." (1 October 2005)
    • "He is a strong man and we are blessed to have him in office. His priority is national security and that is why he is coming out strong on the Bill." (1 October 2005).
  • Josaia Waqabaca: "Commander Bainimarama is clean and fighting for the truth. The stand he is taking is going to save the Fijian race. Today, in the streets ordinary Fijians are talking about the truth and cleanliness, which is hard to find in this government." (11 January 2006; quoted in Fiji Sun).
  • Maciu Navakasuasua: "Commander Bainimarama holds the key in putting this country on the rightful path." (11 January 2006; quoted in Fiji Sun).
  • Ropate Sivo, General Secretary of the Conservative Alliance: "I ask Frank to remain where he is and not to interfere in politics. He should not think that he will always be commander because there are other capable people that can do the job. He is only hungry for power and just because he helped bring the present people into power as an interim government, that does not give him the right to threaten the present government." (Quoted in the Fiji Sun, 9 March 2006.).
  • Saula Telawa, President of the New Nationalist Party: "He (Bainimarama) needs to place more faith in God, only God has the answer, we cannot keep bringing up the past. In making decisions about the people, we need to have faith. What has been done should be forgotten as always dwelling on it will not bring about anything good. He is only making things and the future difficult." (Quoted in the Fiji Sun, 9 March 2006.).

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