July 30, 2012

Vunivalu announcement put on hold

July 29, 2012 07:08:15

Moves to install and announce the new Vunivalu of Bau, the paramount Chief of the Kubuna Confederacy has been put on hold. 

The Turaga na Vunivalu of Bau, generally considered to be one of three highest ranking chiefly title in Fiji has been vacant since the death of the last Vunivalu, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, in 1989.

There were moves made after Ratu Sir George’s death to fill the chiefly position but nothing was finalised.

Speaking to FijiLive Turaga na Tunitoga Ratu Veiwili Komaitai said they have identified a suitable candidate, but need time to arrange with the Vanua on the “right time to make the announcement.”

“We need to finalise all traditional ceremonies before we move on to make the announcement,” he said.

The Vunivalu, when installed, also takes the title of Tui Levuka as he is the traditional leader of the Levuka people of Lakeba, Lau.

The four male candidates that had been announced in the past were Ratu George Cakobau Junior, the son of the late Vunivalu, his brother Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Ratu George Kadavulevu Naulivou, and former Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Ratu George had announced on June 9, 2005, that the chiefs of Matanitu o Bau (the traditional chiefly government of Bau, which includes the districts of Dravo, Namata, Nausori, and Nuku), had selected the four chiefly candidates, to be submitted to the Tui Kaba clan, to choose one of them.

A second meeting a week later tentatively proposed Senator Ratu George Cakobau as the new Vunivalu, but his appointment was not finalised and is not without controversy.

Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, a member of the Tui Kaba clan and a senior chief, had complained that the proper procedures were not being followed. 

The new Vunivalu should be elected by the whole clan, she said, rather than chosen by a few elders. 

The head of the Tovata confederacy is the Tui Cakau, currently Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, and the head of the Burebasaga confederacy is the Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa. 

Traditionally, the heads of the three confederacies are regarded as the highest ranking chiefs in Fiji.

By Mereani Gonedua

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