Fiji's rueful Rabuka regrets coup role

By John Gibb

Former Fiji coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka during a talk to participants at the University of Otago's 48th Foreign Policy School. Photos / Gerard O'Brien
Former Fiji coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka during a talk to participants at the University of Otago's 48th Foreign Policy School. Photos / Gerard O'Brien

Former Fijian Prime Minister Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka says he deeply regrets his role in leading the 1987 military coup and is likely to seek office in next year's planned elections in his homeland.

General Rabuka made the comments during a wide-ranging talk at the University of Otago's latest annual Foreign Policy School yesterday.

Despite his role in the 1987 coup, General Rabuka supported later collaborative efforts, including a Constitutional Review Commission, chaired by the late Sir Paul Reeves, which helped produce the 1997 Fiji constitution.

This constitution was later abrogated in 2009 after a further military coup in 2006, led by Fijian military head Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

General Rabuka said that after meeting some people he had deposed in the 1987 coup and reflecting on the situation, he had felt a "very strong message" about the folly of what he had done, and he felt obliged to apologise to everyone who had been affected.

- Otago Daily Times

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