1 Sep 2004

High ranking Fiji chief gives a stinging rebuke to his colleagues

3:35 pm on 1 September 2004

One of Fiji's most senior chiefs has sharply rebuked chiefs for poor leadership and "continuously inflaming indigenous Fijians."

The criticism has come from the Roko Tui Bau and former High Court judge, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Ratu Joni has told the Fiji Times that "chiefs have not lived up to standards required of them and this is slowly eroding their leadership."

He says "they are unable to project a vision of Fiji embracing all ethnic races."

Referring to recent nationalist statements made in the Senate, Ratu Joni says "this could be seen as a resurgence of the feeling of nationalism seen in 1987", the year of the Rabuka coups.

He says "many Fijian chiefs have ridden that tide and made no effort to try and influence that direction to a more positive approach."

Ratu Joni says "chiefs need to have a wider sense of responsibility rather than focus on just the concerns of (indigenous) Fijians and continuously inflame them."

He says as a first step "Fijians should take full responsibility for the state of affairs in the country" and "stop blaming other people which creates only bad feelings and instability."

Ratu Joni says if people keep embracing racial issues, then good leadership would never be achieved.