Poor Governance: How the controversy over the leadership of the F-FDTL was entirely avoidable
After the conflicts over the nomination and exoneration of the Chief State Major General of the Army Force (CEMGFA) and his vice-chief by the President of the Republic during the last few months, the government presented a new proposal offering two packages for potential nominations for the CEMGFA and Vice-Chief this month. The first package offered a reappointment to the position for Major General Lere Anan Timur, and to his Vice-CEMGFA, Brigadier General Filomeno Paixão de Jesus. The second package proposed a nomination of Captain of Sea and War, Pedro Klamar Fuik, for the CEMGFA post and of Colonel Coliati for VCEMGFA. The government had shown a preference for the first package for reappointments, but President Taur Matan Ruak ultimately selected the second option for nominations for CEMGFA and VCEMGFA.
Following the president’s announcement of his decision, CEMGFA Lere Ana Timur published a press release on April 16th with other veterans still active in the F-FDTL, voicing their disagreement with the president’s decision. Lere stated in the press release that he did not believe the decision properly dignified veterans, and ironically treats them as criminals and law-breakers. In accordance with these statements, Lere and his supporting veterans presented a petition to the president.
To date, this conflict has not reached a full resolution, and debate continues to grow in the media around the action of the state’s leaders and their rationales during this political entanglement. A fundamental concern voiced in the media and public has been that continuing this conflict will endanger national stability and generational transition within the government. Fundasaun Mahein (FM) encourages the state to hold discussions on the security sector utilizing rational evidence and arguments from internal government sources and external sources.
FM maintains its position that the state should do everything within its reasonable limits to ensure proper respect and dignity is accorded to retiring Timorese veterans. However, adhering to law is of paramount importance—veterans and government officials must show respect for state institutions, particularly while holding public office, to provide a leading example of good governance for the people of Timor-Leste. Therefore, an accord must be reached between the various branches of the state in order to find a solution to the ongoing conflict and assuage public concerns. FM urges the state leaders involved to avoid utilizing the conflict in a self-serving capacity, especially as the political tensions around the coming 2017 general election begin to rise.
Based its analysis of this issue, FM recommends that:
1. The Government and President jointly review the processes and systems for statutory appointments: to ensure that all proposed appointments are always consistent with relevant laws; to clarify the conventions and roles of both the Executive and Government with regards to appointments; and to ensure that there is effective expertise, planning and communication in both Government Departments and the Office of the President in regards to appointments, so that potential problems are resolved proactively, cooperatively and prior to the expiry of each appointment.
2. That Major General Lere Anan Timur and other FALINTIL veterans within the F-FDTL show leadership and set a powerful example to the public by always complying with the law.
3. That the veterans and Government increase their efforts to come together and finally establish the Council of the Combatants of National Liberation, to give veterans a unified and official voice in the nations public and political life.
4. That all parties, the Government and Members of Parliament, the President and Major General Lere Anan Timur show restraint and strong leadership by refraining from releasing unnecessary and counter productive public commentary, leaks, rumours and accusations in the media
For more details on this issue, please see below:
Executive Director of FM
Phone: +670 78316075 or 7756 1184