30 September, 2020, 3:45 pm Central - 24°C Rain

It is now even more urgent for the iTaukei to regain control of matters relating to their vanua, culture, customs and traditions - Ro Teimumu

It is now even more urgent for the iTaukei to regain control of matters relating to their vanua, culture, customs and traditions - Ro Teimumu

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 12/12/2019

The Marama Na Roko Tui Dreketi and SODELPA parliamentarian, Ro Teimumu Kepa says she sees something else coming from the fire at the Vale Ni Bose building yesterday, something she says comes with powerful symbolism.

In a statement, Ro Teimumu says let the flames light the way for a new era in the just fulfillment of indigenous rights.

She says let the three Confederacies of Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata draw inspiration from what has happened.

Ro Teimumu says for now, she reminds the government that traditional power still rests in its essence with the Confederacies, not the government of Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

She says wherever they choose to meet and speak among themselves as chiefs, and with the people, that is where the Great Council of Chiefs will be.

Ro Teimumu says the building has gone, but their hopes and aspirations remain.

The Marama Na Roko Tui Dreketi says like the rising of the Phoenix, a new Vale Ni Bose will appear.

Ro Teimumu says the great fire has turned the Great Council of Chiefs Vale Ni Bose into a blackened ruin.

She says she responds on the one hand with sadness about the fate of a building that was never used for its intended purpose.

Ro Teimumu it was there that the GCC was to gather to consider issues affecting the indigenous people and the nation.

She says those who took over the government in 2006 were determined to quash the chiefly body that refused to bend to them.

Ro Teimumu says the main meeting hall, the one just destroyed, would never host the chiefs of Fiji.

She also says those who have attempted to weaken the foundations of the indigenous community and culture will find that three thousand years of history and survival will not be cast aside.

Ro Teimumu says the iTaukei are responding with restraint and patience and a belief that right will, in the end, prevail.

She also says Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are fond of espousing the virtues of what they claim is equal citizenship. She says the GCC was suspended in 2008 and then purported to be terminated in 2012.

Ro Teimumu says it was the GCC that supported an enlightened and progressive land reform measure during the colonial time that gave migrant people secure legal access to land.

She says this was described by the Governor at that time as “one of the greatest acts of faith and trust in colonial history”.

Ro Teimumu says the great high chief who led this initiative and spoke so eloquently in its favor was Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna. She says yet the government chose to ignore what he accomplished and even scrapped the public holiday that honoured him.

She says it becomes even more urgent for the iTaukei to regain control of matters relating to their vanua, culture, customs and traditions.

Ro Teimumu says these are the things that make the iTaukei who they are, one small, distinct ethnic group on planet earth, determined to survive and flourish.

She says they seek the co-operation of all the people of Fiji in this mission. Ro Teimumu says it can be achieved within a negotiated context of national co-operation, reconciliation and understanding.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made many statements regarding the issue about iTaukei rights and protection.

He says the iTaukei chiefly structure has not been demolished by the government.

Bainimarama has also maintained that historical records clearly show that the GCC was not an iTaukei institution as it was set up by the British administration

He also says that iTaukei rights and land are well protected in the 2013 constitution, and any amendments to this requires 75 percent of the support of parliament and 75 percent of support of the total number of registered voters in the country through a referendum.

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