November 28, 2012

New Vunivalu to be announced next year

November 27, 2012 04:33:31 PM

Fiji’s chiefly clan in Bau Island will announce the name of its new Vunivalu next year although a decision has been made on the incumbent for the position.

This was confirmed to FijiLive by Turaga na Tunitoga Ratu Veiwili Komaitai.

Moves to install and announce the new Vunivalu of Bau, the paramount Chief of the Kubuna Confederacy was put on hold earlier this year.

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.

“We have finally made the decision as to who will be the new Vunivalu and we will be announcing the name and holding all traditional ceremony mid next year,” said Komaitai.

He said they had faced a few hiccups but everything has been settled now and people should be rest assured that a new chief will be announced in Bau next year.

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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