FIJI WAR HORSE, COUP CONVICT, RETIRES FROM POLITICS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 2) – Firebrand politician Apisai Tora has resigned to make way for the next generation of leaders in Fiji.

After 40 years of involvement in the political and public affairs of the country, the senator – who is completing a jail term for coup-related crimes extra-murally [outside of jail] – has decided to finally throw in the towel.

Mr. Tora, 72, of Natalau, Sabeto, Nadi, said it was time for him to leave the field to the next generation of leaders.

Mr. Tora, who was released under a Compulsory Supervision Order from Natabua Prison in November, said the negative side of his political life now outweighed the positive.

Mr. Tora was jailed for six months after being convicted of unlawful assembly by High Court judge Justice John Connors.

"It has been full of tears, fears, joys, challenges and, of course, controversy," he said. "As to my life's time clock, I am now three score years and 12. It is time for me to go out to pasture and leave the field to the next generation of leaders."

In his letter of resignation to People's National Party secretary Meli Bogileka, he tendered his resignation not only as party deputy president but as a member as well.

Accepting the resignation, Mr. Bogileka said, "I have great respect for the old war-horse politician who has had a political career that spanned a few decades."

Mr. Tora started off as a trade unionist and was a National Federation Party member before joining the ethno-nationalist camp.

March 3, 2006

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com

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