9 Sep 2005

Law Society President says indigenous Fijians will not accept a non-indigenous leader

10:35 am on 9 September 2005

The president of the Fiji Law Society has told the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in Nadi that indigenous Fijians will not accept a non-indigenous leader.

The Fiji Sun reports that Graham Leung, while speaking on the Challenges of Maintaining a Democracy in Fiji, said indigenous Fijians believe that as Fiji is their country, it should be led by an indigenous person.

He said Fijians believe that other communities are perfectly entitled to make their homes in Fiji and participate in business and other activities, so long as they leave governance to the indigenous.

Mr Leung said many indigenous Fijians find the prospect of an Indo-Fijian prime minister acceptable in theory , but are less accommodating in practice.

He said the concept of democracy, the rule of law and human rights are not well understood in Fiji.

Mr Leung said many indigenous Fijians admit to being ambivalent about democracy which is about playing by set rules, respecting those rules and accepting the results even when it may not be what one had hoped.

Mr Leung said there is a growing acceptance that the Indo-Fijian community is prepared to accept indigenous Fijian political control as the price of social and political peace.