The Cards are Now on the Table

If the people of Fiji did not know it before, they certainly know it now.  The people who rule Fiji should only do so with the approval of the paramount chiefs, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Ro Teimumu Kepa — and if some of their  people do not like this, they should "delete their names from their Vola Ni Kawa Bula."

And if there was ever any doubt about the new multi-racialism of SODELPA, note that they agree with the paramount chiefs.

The chiefs speak of the denial of "group rights" and in the same breath they speak of democracy. There was nothing democratic in the  powers exercised by the Great Council of Chiefs, and nothing democratic in the very uneven allocation of land lease money. The chiefs took the larger slices leaving very little for ordinary iTaukei. The so-called "group rights" benefited only those at the top of the "group."   I see nothing in the 2013 Constitution that denies any group rights affecting ordinary citizens, iTaukei, Indo-Fijian, or whoever,  but I do see many references to equal rights and common citizenship.

The two Fiji Live articles and the two chiefs full statement copied from Coup 4.5 tell it all

Tui Cakau refuses to speak after statement
http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=231013419f3dea6b061034474574f6

The Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has refused to say anything to Fijivillage after we contacted him on a statement released by Ratu Naiqama and Marama Na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa.

Fijivillage was alerted about the signed statement released by Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu only to the antigovernment blog sites.

We asked Ratu Naiqama if we can question him on the issues raised in the statement.

He said he will not take any questions and will not make any comments.  
We also asked him why they are only releasing statements on the antigovernment blog sites but he said he will not say anything.

We contacted Ro Teimumu Kepa and when we introduced ourselves, she said that she could not hear us.

We have called her several times but there is no answer.

In the statement, the two chiefs said the international community should not recognize the 2013 Constitution.

They said the original and properly consulted version is the Yash Ghai Draft.

They also said that they have maintained all along that the perpetrators of the 2006 coup will do well to go before the chiefs and the people of Fiji for remorse rather than to rely on the provisions of the new constitution.

In the signed statement, the two chiefs said that they will continue to do all they can, within the bounds of what they can do within the laws of the country to campaign for the recognition of the group rights.

They also want the restoration of the Great Council of Chiefs, raised concern on the removal of the name Fijian for indigenous Fijians by Decree and the nationalization of companies established under matanitu iTaukei including all provincial companies and Fijian Holdings Limited.

They said their rights are breached when the reference to indigenous Fijians as Fijians was replaced by the label iTaukei and application of the label Fijian to all citizens of Fiji.

Ro Teimumu Kepa and Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said those individuals that disagree with native group rights should simply declare their choice, cut off their connection with their native groups and delete their names from their Vola Ni Kawa Bula.

Meanwhile, in an earlier statement, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama had made it clear during the disestablishment of the Great Council of Chiefs that we should all look at ourselves as citizens of one nation.

SODELPA says the name Fijian is only for indigenous Fijians

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=23101389548719b396441e54862fab

The Social Democratic and Liberal Party has backed the statement by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Ro Teimumu Kepa, saying the party still believes that the name Fijian is only for indigenous Fijians.

Senior SODELPA official, Doctor Tupeni Baba maintained that the party does not recognize the 2013 constitution and does not recognize Fijian as the common name for all the citizens of the country.

Doctor Baba said SODELPA and others who stand by this should not be termed as racists because they are just asking for the protection of their group rights and name.

He said there was no referendum on the common name to be Fijian.

Meanwhile, Doctor Baba maintains that the Great Council of Chiefs should be reinstated.

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has maintained all along that the common name for all the citizens will be Fijian and this was also a non negotiable for the 2013 constitution.

The official name for the indigenous Fijians is itaukei.


  1. Chiefs renew calls for 'group rights' to be recognised

    STATEMENT BY ADI TEIMUMU KEPA, ROKO TUI DREKETI, PARAMOUNT CHIEF OF REWA, AND HEAD OF BUREBASAGA TRIBAL CONFEDERACY AND RATU NAIQAMA LALABALAVU, TUI CAKAU, PARAMOUNT CHIEF OF CAKAUDROVE AND HEAD OF TOVATA TRIBAL CONFEDERACY.

    THE APPOINTMENT OF THE HEAD OF FIJI’S 3RD TRIBAL CONFEDERACY, KUBUNA , IS STILL GOING THROUGH TRADITIONAL PROTOCOL AND ADI TEIMUMU KEPA AND RATU NAIQAMA LALABALAVU INVOKE THEIR TRADITIONAL AND CUSTOMARY AUTHORITY TO SPEAK ON HIS BEHALF FOR THE PEOPLE OF KUBUNA IN RESPONSE TO THE CONSTITUTION PASSED BY THE INTERIM MILITARY GOVERNMENT (IMG) ON 6TH SEPTEMBER 2013.

    1. Introduction

    We issue this statement in response to the Constitution that is now passed by the Interim Military Government (IMG). We do so with the mandate we have, as the customary heads of Fiji’s Tribal Confederacies or the Vanua, whose population constitute over 57% of this country and whose members continue to live and organize themselves under their customary institutions within their tribes, their Vanua, Yavusa, Villages, Mataqalis, Tokatokas and Family Units.

    We select this day 10th October 2013 to release this statement in response to the Constitution of the IMG because this day is significant. Today is Fiji Day. It is the 10th of October.

    It was on this very same day in 1874 that our ancestors and our Chiefs signed the Deed of Cession, to cede this country to the British Crown in exchange for the Crowns promise, contained under clause 4 and clause 7 of that Deed, to protect their land rights and their way of life under their customary Institutions and Chiefly system.

    The essence of clause 4 and clause 7, in addition to being transmitted to the domestic laws of this country, initially under the Native Affairs Ordinance of 1876 which is currently maintained under the Fijian Affairs Act, the Native Lands Ordinance of 1882 which is currently maintained under the Native Lands Act of 1905 and the Native Lands Trust Act of 1940, have been entrenched in every previous Constitution of this country until removed by the IMG in its Constitution of 6th September 2013.

    It was always so as the Crown and successive government after that were obliged, because of Clause 4 and Clause 7, to respect our land rights, our custom, our tradition and our chiefly institutions in exchange for our chiefs giving up the sovereign authority of this land.

    And now it is apparent the IMG has seen it fit to deny us that respect by removing those entrenched provisions from its Constitution. It is a wanton act and the highest form of disrespect and it did so with a very clear motive and intent.

    2. The IMG Constitution

    We have examined this IMG Constitution for what it is and what it intends to achieve. It confirms all that we have anticipated and feared and therefore it must be objectively described for what it is.

    We say to the public and to the international community that this constitution does not carry the mandate of the will of the people of Fiji, as a constitution should. The original and properly consulted version, known as the Yash Gai Draft, was burnt and its content edited in isolation before being taken about to the public.

    Like the “Peoples Charter” that has gone before it, this edited version was taken around the public under a well orchestrated and controlled media to create the impression to the international community that the Public has been widely consulted and has consented to it , when in truth it has not done so.

    This constitution, in all objectivity, is designed to keep the perpetrators of the 2006 coup and their advisers from accounting for their unlawful actions in removing a democratically elected government. We caution that, however hard they may try and whatever way they may wish to do so, even using the provision of a constitution such as this, the will of the people and the Court of Appeal decision in Qarase v Bainimarama of 2009 will still have their final say on them. It is because they carry the essence of mandate and judicial authority. For those are caveats which we cannot avoid or bypass.

    It is the reason also why we have maintained all along that the perpetrators of the 2006 coup will do well to go before the chiefs and the people of Fiji for remorse rather than to rely on the provisions of this constitution to exonerate them. They choose a different path and history will judge them.

    The essence of a Democracy is representative government, clear separation of power, independent constitutional positions, accountability, transparency and the protection of the rights of citizens. These are the necessary elements that a constitution must have, and those factors must be properly set about, to ensure the outcome of a true Democracy. We say that this constitution is plainly lacking in these factors. There are experts who have already given their views, and continue to do so, on those short comings but we limit our comments here on its ailure to protect the group rights of indigenous Fijians.

    3. Group Rights

    The essence of Group Rights is identity, manifested in the uniqueness of the way of life of a group; in our case the indigenous people or native inhabitants of this country, Fiji. It refers to our language, our custom, and our tradition, our customary institutions, our traditional knowledge or the totality of our culture and our cultural way of living entrenched in the customary ownership of land that give it meaning. It refers to the need to safe guard and protect them to maintain our identity as a group. These measures are now recognized and protected under the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 that Fiji ratified in 1998 and the 2007 UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

    We know as a fact that from as early as 2006, when the IMG took power by force, it had moved about purposely to remove all semblance of our group rights and dismantle institutions that manifest them. The IMG argued that it was a necessary measure to bring about equality or “equal citizenry” as the IMG calls it. Its purpose was all too clear in its policy announcements, laws passed and even in its submission to the 81st session of UN committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in August 2012 where it argued that customary institutions like the GCC, are a source of discrimination, that must be dismantled.

    Needless to say the CERD warned the IMG that it was wrong to do so and that it may be committing an act of discrimination by doing so. The CERD also cautioned the IMG that, contrary to what it is doing, it must recognize indigenous rights for native Fijians in the same way that it recognize individual rights and the group rights of others and the challenge is for IMG to make sure that none topples the other.

    The CERD even went further to conclude that the IMG, by its action, maybe in breach breach of ILO C169 and the permanent and inalienable rights of native Fijians.

    The contents of this constitution confirms beyond doubt that the IMGs program to remove indigenous rights and dismantle customary institution that began in earnest in 2006 is now consolidated and perpetuated further by this document.

    In case it is not clear to anyone, we outline again the details of policies and laws passed by the IMG since 2006 to either remove, dismantle, or compromise our group rights and to nationalize and take control of customary institutions that belong to us. We do this because at various times either at village level, or Tikina level or provincial level or when confronted by the Vanua on these questions the reply by the IMG has been either a denial or silence or reference to the Bill of Rights which address individual rights and not Group Rights.

    4. Policies Implemented By The IMG In Breach Of Our Group Rights.

    The following are some policies that have been implemented by the IMG since 2006 that are in breach of our group rights that are recognized under ILO C169 and the 2007 UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights directly or because they are made either to dismantle our customary institutions, to compromise the independence of native institutions or made without obtaining our prior and informed consent:

    1. The announcement in 2007 that the Great Council of Chiefs is to be suspended indefinitely.

    2. The continuing effort by the IMG to remove and replace individuals and chiefs, who oppose its policies, from the customary institutions established by law including, Provincial Councils, Fijian(iTaukei) Affairs Board, Native(iTaukei) Land Trust Board and Fijian (iTaukei) Trust Fund.

    3. The Nationalisation and assumption of control over native Fijians semi autonomous native government ( Matanitu Taukei) administered under the Fijian (iTaukei) Affairs Act.

    4. The Nationalisation, and assumption of control over all companies established under Fiji's Semi autonomous Native Government (matanitu iTaukei) including all provincial companies and Fijian Holdings Limited.

    5. The appointment of government sympathisers to man the semi autonomous native government (matanitu iTaukei) and Native Land Trust Board, the Government agency that administers native land to maintain control.

    5. Laws passed by the IMG In Breach Of Our Group Rights
    The following are some of the laws that have been passed by the IMG since 2006 that are in breach of our group rights recognized under ILO C169 and the 2007 UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights directly or because they are made either to dismantle our customary institutions, to compromise the independence of native institutions or made without obtaining our prior and informed consent:

    1. Fijian Trust Fund (Amendment) (No. 2) Decree 2009 to remove the authority of the chiefs from appointing members to the Fijian Trust Board and substituting it with the government.

    2. Native Land Trust Act (Amendment)(No. 31) Decree 2009 to amend Section three(3) of that Act to remove the appointing authority of the chiefs to the Native Land Trust Board and its replacement by the government.

    3. Fijian Affairs (Amendment) (No. 31) Decree 2010 to terminate reference to indigenous Fijian’s as Fijian’s, to be replaced by the label iTaukei and application of the label Fijian to all citizens of Fiji.

    4. Native land Trust (Amendment) (No. 32) Decree 2010 to amend Section 3 of that Act to vest control of that institution on the minister replacing the President as representative of the chiefs and customary landowners and removing chiefly representation to the board replacing if with the IMG as sole appointing authority.

    5. iTaukei Affairs (Amendment)(No. 22) Decree 2012 to amend part 2 of that Act to remove and terminate the existence of the Great Council of Chiefs.

    6. iTaukei Land Trust (Amendment) (No. 20) Decree 2012 to amend S19 A of that Act to remove the Great Council of Chiefs as authority to determine customary ownership and its replacement with IMG.

    7. iTaukei Lands(Amendment)(No. 21) Decree 2012 to amend S19 of that act to remove the Great Council of Chiefs as authority to determine customary ownership and its replacement IMG.

    8. iTaukei Trust Fund (Amendment)(No. 23) Decree 2012 to amend the long title of the Act to remove any reference to the Great Council of Chiefs and need to provide for its financial autonomy.

    9. September 6th Constitution. The previous constitutions of Fiji including in 1997 constitution and the 1970 constitution all contained within it entrenched provision to protect Native Fijian Land Right And Right of Limited Autonomy with the Great Council of Chiefs as its head. Those entrenched provisions are now removed in the IMG’s 6th September constitution.

    6. Need To Protect Our Group Rights

    The entrenched provisions of previous constitutions, on our land rights and customary institutions including recognition of the Great council of Chiefs were put there to manifest the government’s treaty obligation to our ancestors and to our chiefs in exchange for our ancestors and chiefs surrendering the sovereign authority of these lands. We humbly request and call upon the IMG to respect and restore this as the UN Special Rappatuer on indigenous people, Professor Anaya, has called upon countries to respect their treaty obligations to their indigenous peoples.

    We request, as we call upon the IMG to respect our group rights by restoration of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) as well as policies and laws that have been passed since 2006 that are in breach of the rights recognized for us under the ILO C169 that Fiji Ratified in 1998 and under the 2007 UN Declaration on the Right of
    Indigenous Peoples

    The Group Rights of Indigenous Fijians is not the concern only of the indigenous population of Fiji. It is the concern of all right thinking Fiji citizens who proudly share in the ownership of its unique identity.

    We say here with unreserved authority that we will continue to do all we can, within the bounds of what we can do within the laws of this county to campaign for the recognition of our group rights notwithstanding the removal of the entrenched provision from this Constitution, nor the termination of the GCC by Decree, nor the removal of our name by Decree, nor the many laws and policies that have been passed to terminate and compromise those rights and nationalize our native companies and institutions.

    It is because we are sincere in our belief that our group rights are real, objective, legal and inalienable.

    It is the reason also why we want to demand those who do not agree with them to leave us and our rights alone. Our mentor the late Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna had reminded us many times over that we acquire them by descent and practice. But we have the choice always to opt to leave them simply by cutting off connections with your native group, by moving elsewhere and deleting your names from your respective VKB (register) of Mataqalis, Yavusas and tribes.

    We advise therefore that rather than removing the entrenched provision from the constitution, terminating the GCC and passing other laws and policies to terminate or compromise our group rights and to thereby nationalize our companies and institutions, those individuals that disagree with native Fijian group rights should simply declare their choice, cut off their connection with their native groups and delete their names from their VKB.

    MAY GOD BLESS FIJI

    Dated this 10th Day of October 2013

    ADI TEMUMU KEPA ROKO TUI DREKETI, RATU NAIQAMA LALABALAVU, TUI CAKAU, PARAMOUNT CHIEF OF REWA, AND HEAD PARAMOUNT CHIEF OF CAKAUDROVE BUREBASAGA TRIBAL CONFEDERACY HEAD OF TOVATA TRIBAL CONFEDERACY

Comments

Cards on the table said…
The cards are now on the table. Yash Gai has announced today what the rest of the free world has known for some time. Bainimarama is just a puppet of khaiyum. Well done to the Chiefs for clearly stating their stand against this evil junta. It is now time to begin the cleanout of the treasonous scum who want to destroy the culture and religion of Fijians. No more attacks on Christians by the junta or their cowardly supporters standing behind thugs with guns.
flyhalf said…
@ Cards on the table
Since the post was about the statement signed by these two ignoble chiefs, lets not digress on pathetic innuendos on religion, culture etc.

Regarding the statement by the Chiefs

The anachronistic GCC and the serfdom that these two chiefs purportedly represents, has outlived its usefulness and had failed the nation many times before.
The issue of ITaukei land fears used by the old politicians, has been solved by the protections within the 2013 Constitution. Now, these chiefs are preying on ignorant iTaukei, spreading about the fears of native culture being eroded.

Fiji does not need to hear a lecture about democracy from the very chiefs that undermined democracy in the 1987 and 2000 coups.
It is understandable the these chiefs and the supporters despise the current Government.However, lets not forget an important fact, when Ro Teimumu travels overseas she uses a blue passport issued by the Government of Fiji-not a passport issued by the province of Rewa.
Anonymous said…
What a sad day for Fiji when traditional leaders speak of democracy and "harpoon" its very foundation by stating, "those individuals that disagree with native Fijian group rights should simply declare their choice, cut off their connection with their native groups and delete their names from their VKB" with the same breathe. I am from Burebasaga and whilst I have my obligation to respect the Roko Tui Dreketi under traditional mechanism; that's where it ends. She certainly does not have my support when it comes to political choice nor have I given her the mandate to speak on my behalf politically. One of the reasons why political instability has dogged our beloved country is the fact that chiefs utilise their traditional status for political gain. Politicking should be kept separate from traditional systems and its practises. If chiefs opt to partake in the political arena then they should be treated just like any other politician and should not use their traditional status as a launching pad to sway their subjects (especially those that are politically naive).
Anonymous said…
Amazing Baba should pose as a great defender of the chiefs when all along his political life he maligned them. Now I know why someone called him a 'moko'. Baba is desperately clinging to the straw in the hope of resurrecting his political career that never took off. What more he wants to restore the GCC and if the chiefs were so important why did Rabuka or Qarase become the PM and not one of the chiefs. Its all a fa├žade to use the chiefs to influence their subjects to vote for the party that they choose and in return the chiefs can hope to be restored to their former glory. The chiefs and the elite aligned to them destroyed democracy and Fiji. They were the only people who benefitted from the loot of the nation. Read Dr Nayacakalou's 'Leadership in Fiji' to gain an insight into how the chiefs and the chiefly system worked to the detriment of their own people. In 1954 Governor Sir Ronald Garvey suggested the introduction of elective system for the indigenous people but it was rejected by the chiefs because the elective system would have compromised their dominant position. One day, hopefully sooner, the truth will be revealed to show the damage the chiefly system did to their people in collusion with elite associated with them. Remember Qarase? When he became the Prime Minister he was not a millionaire but by the time he left he became a multimillionaire! The chiefs supported him and they got major share of the rental money from poor landowners! He was also building a castle for them at a cost of $40 million as a reward for their support! This was share and care within the elite. Baba is making a desperate effort to cash in! Good luck Baba but don't forget your friend Chodhry, - he is part of SODELPA!
Unfit and untrustworthy said…
Baba was, at best,a mediocre academic.
Now he has been revealed as an opportunistic politician.
No principles or morals.
Sell out his own people to the elite as a means to get back in power.
Unfit and trustworthy person.

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