17 May 2007

Rift deepens in Fiji chiefly confederacy

4:37 pm on 17 May 2007

The head of one of the three traditional indigenous confederacies in Fiji, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has come out in support of chiefs from her domain who want to break away and form a fourth confederacy.

Most chiefs of Fiji's largest and most economically powerful province, Ba, come under the Burebasaga Confederacy which is headed by Ro Teimumu.

They have renewed their call to break away and form their own fourth confederacy since the suspended Great Council of Chiefs refused to endorse President Iloilo's nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as the new vice president.

Ro Teimumu has told the Fijilive news website the chiefs of Ba should go ahead with the idea if they think it is right for them.

She says she will not oppose them just because part of the province falls under her jurisdiction.

Ro Teimumu, who was deposed as education minister in the military takeover, says the onus will be on the 21 chiefs of Ba province to agree to form a separate union.

She says this has been an ongoing issue for some years, but if they are pushing for it then she would give them her blessing.

After the George Speight coup in 2000, the chiefs of Ba wanted to break away from Fiji and form a separate state.