3 Sep 2004

Ousted Fiji Great Council chairman accuses government of interference

10:21 am on 3 September 2004

The ousted chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has accused the Qarase government of interfering with the independence of the country's highest traditional body.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau has told Radio Legend that the Council had already decided in 1999 that it should function as an autonomous and independent body without political interference.

Ratu Epeli says he is now surprised to find out that the government was planning a vote of no confidence against him although the members of the body had no issues against him.

Ratu Epeli says the planned motion proved government interference with the body.

He says only members of the Great Council of Chiefs can take action to remove the chairman if they are unhappy with the person's performance.

Ratu Epeli says the decision cannot be made by the government of the day.

The secretary general of the ruling SDL party, Jale Baba, disclosed earlier this week that there was a motion of no confidence against Ratu Epeli and to "save his face" he was removed before the next meeting of the Great Council.