“The obsession to remove racial issues from the governance of this country is short-sighted and ill-conceived, for ethnicity is a fact of life”, says Paramount Chief Ro Teimumu in a letter to the interim Prime Minster, Frank Bainimarama. “The revolutionary changes you are making cannot be made without the involvement of the Great Council of Chiefs’ she says. “Any calamity between the races or even between indigenous Fijians themselves can only be resolved with the involvement of the Great Council of Chiefs.”
Ro Teimumu heads one of the three indigenous confederacies, Burebasaqa, and carries the title Roko Tui Dreketi, which she inherited on the death of Ro Lady Lala Mara,the wife of the founder of modern Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
The Great Council of Chiefs was disbanded by Bainimarama in March. At the time he said “The Great Council of the Chiefs is a product of our colonial past and Fiji must now focus on a future in which all Fijians are represented on the same basis.”
According to commentator, Graham Davis, a titanic struggle is now looming ”between the old and new orders in Fiji for the hearts and minds of the indigenous majority – the i’taukei. It’s a struggle that will determine the future for all Fiji citizens and on present indications, the portents don’t look good. Because the old order – the i’taukei chiefs – seem determined to make race the centerpiece of their campaign, to mine all the old prejudices that have retarded independent Fiji’s development right from the start.”
News category: Pacific.