12 Apr 2007

Fiji chiefs meeting urged to nominate new vice-presidential candidate

10:09 am on 12 April 2007

A minister in Fiji's Qarase government deposed in the December military takeover is reported to have told the Great Council of Chiefs that they should nominate someone from within the Council for the vice presidency.

The Fiji Times reports that Ro Teimumu Kepa made the call after the chiefs rejected President's Iloilo's nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau for the position.

Ro Teimumu who is the head of the Burebasaga confederacy was at the meeting as a representative of the Rewa province.

Sources within the meeting have been quoted as saying that it was Ro Teimumu Kepa and Ratu Epenisa Cakobau of the Kubuna Confederacy who led the opposition to Ratu Epeli Nailatikau's nomination.

Ro Teimumu also said chiefs were born to lead and acted as advisers to the government because they knew what was best for their people.

She hit out at highly critical comments about chiefs made by the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, late last year, saying they raised a lot of questions about where indigenous Fijians were heading

She said the current situation in Fiji has caused a lot of confusion and asked whether there was a way to restore the cordial relationship between the chiefs and the government.