SUVA, Fiji (Sept. 5) - Former Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s call to abolish the chiefly system is harsh. Although Rabuka, no doubt, has his reasons for making such a call.

The fact of the matter is that the chiefly system is an integral part of the Fijian culture. However, that is not to say that a review of the chiefly system is not warranted. The current chiefly system has brought some disarray to the Fijian people. An increasing number of dissident groups have disputed decisions made by the Native Land Commission over the installation of chiefs.

In the process, divisions have been created among the people.

Fijians hold their chiefs in high esteem as someone who is sent from God. To them, the chiefly lineage must be followed and revered; education or academic achievements are irrelevant when it comes to the appointment of chiefs.

The chiefs of the past ruled with great wisdom and had the hearts to serve the people.

These days, it is not the same.

It is a pity that politics and academic achievements have reared their ugly heads into the chiefly system.

This has lowered the chiefly system, as commoners, due to their academic qualifications are now chosen to take the places of chiefs in the Great Council of Chiefs and in the Senate.

This is alarming because, if not controlled, it will lead to the erosion of the chiefly system.

It is already taking its toll as evidenced by the rising number of self- promoted chiefs, who cause nothing but confusion and division among the Fijian people.

As a result, economic and social problems within the Fijian fraternity are becoming worse.

It is time to review the chiefly system and to institute changes immediately.

Only chiefs and no one else should be part and parcel of the GCC and it is there that chiefs will get their appointments to the Senate.

The Fijians of today need to be directed and it is only made possible if these God-sent chiefs are brought back to assume their rightful roles.

September 6, 2006


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