Fiji strongman gets honour for service to humanity

Wellington, April 24 (Inditop) Fiji’s military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama, who took control in a coup 29 months ago, was Friday given one of the Pacific island nation’s highest awards for service to humanity, according to reports from the capital Suva.

Bainimarama was honoured by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who reappointed him as prime minister two weeks ago, after sacking judges of the Court of Appeal who had declared the post-coup government illegal.

In a ceremony at Government House, Bainimarama was made a Companion of the Order of Fiji for his “eminent achievement and merit of highest degree and service to Fiji and to humanity at large”, the Fijilive website reported.

When he sacked the judges, Iloilo revoked Fiji’s constitution and decreed that elections to restore democracy would not be held before September 2014.

Bainimarama had refused calls by New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, the US and the Pacific Islands Forum to restore democracy by holding elections this year.

Bainimarama, who accused the previous government of being corrupt and biased in favour of the indigenous Fijian majority against the ethnic Indian minority, has refused to go to the polls until a new one-man, one-vote electoral system is in place.