9 Dec 2003

Fiji chief wants power given to traditional chiefs

8:29 am on 9 December 2003

A high chief of Fiji has called for power to rule the country to be handed over to the traditional chiefs.

The Daily Post reports that Ratu George Cakobau, a senator appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs, made the call in the Upper House during the debate on the 2004 budget.

Ratu George said chiefs are the best people to manage the country, adding that indigenous rights to self-determination must be legally protected in the constitution.

He said democracy and the rule of law require the acknowledgment of the express wishes of more than fifty percent of the population and changes to the constitution.

Ratu George said ignoring the wishes of the indigenous people was marginalisation and dehumanisation, not democracy.

He said indigenous Fijians were the custodians of the land, sea and forest resources and therefore Fijian political control should be enshrined in the constitution.

He said in the last two years, indigenous Fijian political leadership has brought dignity, security, peace and prosperity to the nation.