Of Chiefs and Pig

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for Indigenous Affairs Meli Bainimarama tells the Roko Tui telling the council that the chief’s name “has been withdrawn by the Minister”.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

(press release)


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.


8 Responses to “Of Chiefs and Pig”

  1. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    Sorry to digress but !

    I was just watching the TV news in Australia which showed hundreds of soldiers out on the streets of Brisbane’s suburbs cleaning up the mess left by a huge storm on Sunday. The engineers are out with their trucks and machines whilst many other diggers are using their bare hands to clean up the mess.

    The good thing is that there is not a gun in sight and that financial help for those distressed has already been given by the state and commonwealth governments.

    Contrast this with the pathetic effort by bananasinpyjamas and his moronic military misfits when a cyclone hit Fiji earlier in the year.

    The military stayed in their barracks whilst assistance was very slow ; if any. The people were left to clean up the mess and repair their lives on their own whilst the illegal criminals spent more money on their jet setting ways.

    Somewhere in this post, there is a message that says that a democratic government is going to do more for the people rather than a self-serving dictatorship.

  2. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    Well both Vore and Nailatikau should know full well that before the Bose Vanua can take place, they need to traditionally seek the forgiveness of the Chiefs, otherwise the Meeting is doomed to fail.

    If the cannot humble themselves and apologise to the true chiefs of Fiji, then they properly reflect their wannabe chief status. All talk but no substance.

    $2 Jo sways from side to side, depending on which side is buttering his bread. One time he was so pro-Vore. Then another time he was calling for Vore to humble himself and apologise to the chiefs. Now he turns 180 degrees and calls upon chiefs to attend the Bose Vanua and support Vore.

    $2 Jo shows symptoms of na tamata dauveilali vata kei na tamata macawa.

    Tamata chi damu drasa!

  3. Striker Says:

    Pigs are the traditional animal of feasting for chiefs. It would be against tradition, unchiefly and downright despicable that a pig should now be snouting chiefs to a meeting. Chiefs are chiefs and pigs are pigs; never the twain shall meet!

  4. LUVfiji Says:

    Yep.. quite right Mr JW!

    Esa kacivi ira na gone turaga kei na gone marama kei Viti na Vore ni Kiuva; na cava tale sa qai vo? Na matanigasau e na sega baleta ni rau sa veitaqavi tiko na qaciqacia vatakei na viavialevu.

    Though the Pig must seize this moment as a golden opportunity to seek forgiveness if he desires to be trusted by the chiefs (and the people of this country) in achieving the objectives of December 2006, and the subsequent suspension of the GCC. C’mon Vore, admit wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness! Then, and only then, we can move on.. or move forward to a better Fiji ; or whatever that figgin slogan is!

  5. raqiqi Says:


  6. kini Says:

    Voreqe apologies? What he need is a kick in the azz?

  7. Budhau Says:

    This Tuisawau complaint to the FHRC – what was all that about.
    The Provincial Council is a body created by government legislation and it is the government thru the FAB that regulates its. So when the guy does not get appointed, so what. This doesn’t have anything to do with being a chief or disrespect of the vanua and all that I think little to do with human rights. I don’t think it is a fundamental human right to get a job with the Provincial Council or the Fijian Affairs Board. I suggest that Tuisawau get a lawyer and sue the government – maybe on some procedural due process ground.

    Talking about culture and customs – since when has it become a part of the Fijian culture to go around “demanding” an apology – and apology comes when someone genuinely seeks forgiveness for a wrong that he believes he has done. That insult – I think someone with some knowledge should point out why there should be a distinction between Bose ni Turaga and Bose Levu Vakaturaga – my Wikipedia research does not go that far.

    You see the GCC, the provincial council etc are all statutory bodies – created by government legislation and regulated by the FAB. Its purpose was mostly to advise the government of the day on things Fijian. Since 1987 the GCC has got a much expanded role. These things are government made things – the people and their chiefs – that is a separate issue.
    The way they are trying to do the restructure the GCC, I think that would make the GCC more representative and the people can still have their Bose ni Turaga.

    BTW.. I know I should stay out these things that I have no understanding of.

  8. Cava Says:

    What does the Name BAINIMARAMA means and what was its origin? Yo,Budhau give it a go!

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