12 May 2005

New effort to forge links between indigenous Fijian political parties

10:21 am on 12 May 2005

Fears of another coup in Fiji after the next general election have prompted a group of prominent indigenous Fijians to try to unite all indigenous political parties ahead of the vote.

Fiji TV reports that the group is headed by one of the three commissioners who drew up the 1997 Constitution and longtime former cabinet minister and former speaker of parliament, Tomasi Vakatora.

Referring to the 1987 and 2000 coups, Mr Vakatora says "once the indigenous Fijians get rattled, they rattle the country."

He says there is group of indigenous Fijians who are not politicians who have been tasked to unite all the fragmented indigenous parties to work together ahead of the election.

The former prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, said in Australia last weekend that he had agreed to go along with Mr Vakatora's unity proposal if it meant uniting all Fijian political parties to maintain political control of the country.

That report also disclosed that others behind the proposal are the managing director of the Shangri-La chain of hotels in Fiji, Radike Qereqeretabua; the post coup interim government minister, Keni Dakuidreketi; the former CEO of the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau, Jesoni Vitusaqavulu; and the former Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Tui Malakai.