Magazine article New Internationalist

Frank Bainimarama

Magazine article New Internationalist

Frank Bainimarama

Article excerpt

Fiji is back on board the good ship Commonwealth, thanks to Frank Bainimarama, the former coup-leading head leopard of the armed forces who has changed his spots and is now a cuddly democratic pussycat. The native Fijian wiped the board with his opponents in September's general elections and marched into the state house in Suva. Oops, forgot he was already there.

When Bainimarama led 'a coup within a coup' back in 2000 against the upstart Fijian chauvinist George Speight, he developed a taste for politics. He became a constant critic of the behaviour of Fiji's political class and eventually led another coup, in 2006, to get rid of the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, whom he accused of creating race hatred against Indo-Fijians. He believes that the hostility and suspicion that divides indigenous Melanesian Fijians from the large Indo-Fijian minority has poisoned political life. …

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