VACANT CHIEFLY TITLES MOUNT IN FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, August 18) - The Native Lands Commission has declared close to 2,000 chiefly titles vacant, citing insufficient information from provincial councils

Commission Chairman Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua says the vacant positions range from the head of a ‘mataqali’ (primary local division of Fijian society) to paramount chiefs.

The commission can’t confirm the exact numbers of vacant titles because the provincial councils have not declared some positions that have been filled.

Native Land Commission records show that there are 1, 890 heads of ‘yavusa’ (largest kinship and social division of Fijian society consisting of descendants of one originator) and 5, 280 heads of ‘mataqali’ in the 14 provinces.

The commission, which registers the chiefly titles within the Fijian Affairs Administration, confirms that 1, 792 chiefly positions haven’t been filled.

In most cases, unresolved disputes over the titles have prevented official registration.

The commission notes that there are other cases in which factions within chiefly families have their own agenda; just recently the commission referred a submission for the Tui Navitilevu position back to the Ra Provincial council.

The NLC says it prefers that all disputes concerning chiefly tittles, irrespective of status, be dealt with within the concerned ‘mataqali’or ‘yavusa,’ rather than the commission having regular meetings to resolve any disagreement.

August 19, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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