It is interesting that Ratu Nawalowalo is begging chiefs to attend the Bose ni Turaga scheduled to be held at the RFMF camp soon. I am not aware of the agenda, but whilst I wish them a successful meeting, I am wondering if we in Fiji truly appreciate the problem we have and the way it could be amicably resolved. Do we have a clear picture of the problems that beset us? Whilst we turn to chiefs for solutions, we need to see that many very high ranking Fijian chiefs have been and are continuously being dealt with unceremoniously ever since the coup of 2000, beginning with the ousting of the Tui Nayau, through audacious actions which were considered necessary, though from hindsight questionably so. The ill-treatment of our chiefs, continues endlessly to this day and I wonder if we realise the harm these actions do to our lives and our future, given the chiefly system under which we are all subjected. A stock-take of these ill-treatments is such, that it has built up to an appalling proportion and I have a perception that probably, we are now as a nation under a curse.
Apenisa Naigulevu (Fiji Sun Letters to the Editor 18/11/09)
Rewa chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau says he has filed a complaint with the Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC) over his exclusion from the Rewa Provincial Council.
And he claims that he was removed by interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama earlier in the year because of his opposition to the interim regime’s Peoples Charter.
A letter to the Rewa Provincial Council, dated May 23, 2008, a copy of which Ro Filipe had disclosed to the media, notes Permanent Secretary for Indigenous Affairs Meli Bainimarama tells the Roko Tui telling the council that the chief’s name “has been withdrawn by the Minister”.
The letter tells the council: “…you will need to submit another name, should you wish to do so.”
Ro Filipe was informed of this decision by the Rewa Provincial Council last month.
Bainimarama was then Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Ro Filipe said no reason was given for the withdrawal of his name from the council, but believes it had to do with his province’s opposition to the charter which he had been vocal about.
He said the action was “a serious breach of my human rights as enshrined in the Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.”
“It is total hypocrisy to talk about human rights in the Charter and then do the opposite as in my case.”
“The simple fact of the matter is that I have been victimised for expressing an opinion,” said Ro Filipe.
Ro Filipe said if the Human Rights Commission failed to act on his complaint he would take his case to the courts and to the United Nations Rapportuers dealing with human rights.
Ro Filipe added that provincial councils could not always be expected to act like state entities, as they also had an allegiance to the vanua.
The current Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ratu Epeli Ganilau and his Permanent Secretary, Ratu Meli Bainimarama could not be reached for a comment yesterday
The Rewa Provincial Council is in the dark over the sudden removal of its chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau from the council.
Deputy chairman Pita Tagicakiverata said the council was formally informed of Ro Filipe’s removal at its two-day meeting in Lomanikoro last week.
“Before the meeting, Ro Filipe had actually told me what happened but we really don’t know the reasons behind this move as nothing was stated.
“He has accepted the letter (from the Fijian Affairs Board) though, but we really don’t know why this was done,” he told Fijilive.
A concerned Ro Filipe reportedly claims that the interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was solely behind the move because of his stand against the interim regime.
Ro Filipe said such a directive was an infringement on his basic human rights.
He has, on several occasions, spoken publicly against the interim Government and its policies.
Meanwhile, it is unclear whether the vanua of Rewa will take part in the dialogue initiated by Bainimarama which is scheduled for next month.
Rewa paramount chief Ro Teimumu Kepa had earlier said the interim Government’s suspension of the GCC was “humiliating” and the plan to have Bainimarama dialogue with the tradition leaders next month is “hilarious”.
She had stated that her Burebasaga confederacy, one of three political divisions of Fijian bureaucracy, will not take part.
“Our position is clear and we will not take part in any dialogue with the interim government,” she said.
Reports from certain provinces indicate that they are expecting a traditional apology from the interim Government before their chiefs can consider cooperating.
If Bainimarama is indeed a i-taukei then the least he could do is present a matanigasau to the chiefs before calling the bose ni turaga.
and we say:
And chiefs to the bose ni turaga called by the government are either misguided or have sold out to this illegal government. The Great Council of Chiefs is a representative council representing chiefs who have either been nominated or elected into the Body from the Provincial Council and is the culmination of a process that begins from the Bose Va Koro, to the Bose ni Tikina (and urban reps) and then onto the Bose ni Yasana. Therefore, the call by Voreqe for the members of the GCC to go and drink homebrew under the mango tree and the subsequent suspension of the GCC is a direct assault and insult on all the i-Taukei because we are all represented in that Council.
Before Voreqe calls that Bose ni Turaga, he must first heal that wound and make amends by apologising in the traditional way. As a matter of fact he may win more approval out of that. But then again, a fool would think that apologising is a sign of weakness.
He thinks he is tough and strong by burning bridges left right and centre. Nah, does not work that way.