FIJI HIGH CHIEFS REJECT ‘PEOPLE’S CHARTER’

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Join ranks with Fiji’s influential Methodist Church

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Aug. 27, 2008) - Fiji’s three highest ranking chiefs have attended the annual Methodist Church conference at the Centenary Church, Suva this afternoon in a show of support.

Soon after lunch today, the meeting of the church’s 100-plus ministers was a buzz in anticipation of the chiefs’ arrival.

The chiefs Ro Teimumu Kepa, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Ratu Epenisa Cakobau head Fiji’s traditional political divisions, or confederacies, of Burebasaga, Tovata and Kubuna respectively.

Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu, former Cabinet ministers of the Government deposed in the 2006 military coup, are staunch Catholics.

The head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Petero Mataca, is a co-chair of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and strong backer of the Charter.

But the high chiefs, like the Methodist Church, are rejecting the proposed People’s Charter.

Church general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu told journalists it would not support an illegal document and process.

"It’s a dangerous document because it can have a lot of negative impacts in the lives of Fiji citizens, especially Fijians," he said.

Newly-elected President Reverend Ame Tugaue said the church could not be seen to support a military-backed government which took power by force.

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