30 Jun 2004

Fiji academic says indigenous Fijian leadership is self-destructing

10:20 am on 30 June 2004

A senior academic at the University of the South Pacific says indigenous Fijian leadership is self-destructing at the top because of differences among the country's nearly 1,200 villages on leadership and authority.

The Fiji Times reports that the warning has come from the head of the university's School of Social and Economic Development, Dr Ropate Qalo.

Dr Qalo says ethnic reconciliation is working, but to prevent destablisation, reconciliation has to start with indigenous Fijians.

He says indigenous Fijians have irreconcilable differences over leadership which could be destabilising for Fiji, especially when it occurs at the apex of leadership.

Dr Qalo says events such as people having the audacity to ask President Mara to step down at the time of the coup are "a sign of decay and disintegration of society and should be addressed by law."

He says the tolerance and goodwill, or social capital, which was found in past leaders is lacking in the present ones.

Instead, Dr Qalo says, the void is filled with people who usurp positions but lack qualifications.