April 01, 2008

Letter from Tui: Nawalowalo's folly

Nawalowalo’s labeling the Naitasiri Province as a ‘renegade’ for rejecting the amendments to the newly comprised GCC, is not ‘vakaturaga’ but grossly insulting for someone who struts around with a ‘ratu’ title next to his name.

He unashamedly echoes his political master’s na├»ve claim, that Provincial Council’s no longer will be responsible for electing its members to the GCC because they have become political.

I challenge Nawalowalo, Bainimarama and all puppet Provincial Council Chairmen to explain, when has their Councils ever abstained from being involved in political issues affecting their particular Provinces or the Fijian people as a whole?

Section 7 (1) of the Fijian Affairs Act creates the 14 Provincial Councils and subsection (2) empowers the Councils, subject to the Minister’s approval to enact by-laws for the health, welfare and good government of Fijians residing in or being members of the community of the Province.

Section 3 (1) creates the GCC and subsection (2) imposes a positive duty upon the GCC to submit to the President such recommendations and proposals it deems to be for the benefit of the Fijian people and to consider questions as to good government and well being of the Fijian people.

Furthermore, section 185 of the Constitution of Fiji specifically grants excusive vetoing powers to the Senate nominees of the GCC with respect to all matters affecting Fijian, Rotuman and Banaban rights.

So the intention of the legislators when enacting the Fijian Affairs Act and the Constitution, which had by-partisan support of the Indian members in Parliament, intended for the GCC and Councils to be involved in political issues, which directly affected their respective Provinces or the Fijian people as a whole.

The GCC’s rejecting President Iloilo’s nomination of Minister Nailatikau for Vice President clearly was within its Constitutional duties conferred upon it by section 90 of the Constitution, but in doing so, attracted the wrath of the interim government leading to its dissolution by Minister Ganilau.

It is therefore quite reasonable for certain Provinces to be weary of the interim government’s intention of a newly composed GCC especially if it will only act as a rubber stamp to Minister Nailatikau’s nomination for Vice President.

Nawalowalo’s insistence that even if 5 of the Provinces did not take part in the election of the Vice President, the GCC will still go ahead and make the appointment is worrisome.

The 5 Provinces likely to reject the proposed changes are; Rewa, Nadroga, Namosi, Naitasiri, Cakaudrove.

These Provinces simply cannot be over-looked in any proper GCC resolution.

How can this newly constituted GCC be truly recognised and accepted by Fijians if the traditional heads of Burebasaga and Tovata, Rewa, Nadroga, Namosi Naitasiri and Cakaudrove are excluded or refrain from being members, especially when you consider it was their ancestors who were signatories to the Deed of Cession?

Nawalowalo in his appeasement policy towards the interim government, is political as well, such as securing the interim government leasing their Provincial House, fails to see the hypocrisy and not ‘vakaturaga’ in returning to the Provincial Councils only this time to tell them of the new amendments.

He should recall when the Task Force first went around the 14 Provinces it was to seek their views in relation to proposed amendments to the composition of the GCC.

When the interim government rejected its recommendation that the GCC be apolitical and the President, VP and PM not be part of the GCC, former Chairman Tu’uakitau had the decency to speak out against it and replacements of other Task Force Members, could be interpreted as their agreeing with Chairman Tu’uakitau.

Nawalowalo is a ‘water-bottle principle man’. Water always takes the shape of its container and he always seem to be able to finagle himself back into the good books of the interim government, so it comes as no surprise, when Chairman Tu’uakitau was axed, Nawalowalo was elevated in his place.

This time instead of seeking the views of the 14 Provinces as before, he is now proudly tasked to tell of the amendments regardless of whether it is accepted or not and then has the audacity to label those Provinces rejecting it as ‘renegades.’

Who is guilty of ‘being political’? The interim government in trying to push ahead its agenda to secure the re-nomination of Minister Nailatikau as Vice President or the rejection by certain Provinces?

The answer is they both are playing politics and there is nothing wrong at all with it, so long as it is done with the interests of their Provinces and Fijian people at heart.

Bainimarama and his cronies loosely use the term ‘being political’ to anyone who oppose their agenda, but conveniently ignores the fact they too are playing politics, but have not succeeded in gaining their support.

Nawalowalo, if he is a truly installed chief should know fully well, that any decision supposedly made by the GCC without the acquiescence of the traditional heads of the certain Provinces within Kubuna; Burebasaga and Tovata Confederacies will not be morally or traditionally binding on the Fijian people.

However, of greater concern is the division it is going to cause within the GCC and its detrimental consequences on the Fijian people.

Nawalowalo should humble himself and remember a saying from his own Province: ‘mai ya so, mai vale e mino.’


Tui Savu.
Townsville. QLD.