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Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda was paramount chief

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Feb. 8, 2011) - Vunisei, the traditional residence of the Momo na Tui Vuda has been left vacant.

The five villages of the Tikina o Vuda are now mourning the death of their paramount chief, Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, who died at the Suva Private Hospital on Sunday morning.

Ratu Josefa, who was also a former President of the country, succeeded the late Ratu Sir Josaia Nasorowale Tavaiqia.

He became the Tui Vuda after Ratu Sir Josaia died on November 19, 1997, at the age of 66.

Ratu Josefa not only succeeded to the traditional title, but he also took over from him as the Vice-President of the country.

When he retired as President in 2009, the people of Vuda traditionally requested his return to the chiefly residence of Vunisei.

This was where he resided until he was taken to the Suva Private Hospital where he was admitted for a week until he died.

As the Tui Vuda, he was the head of the Vuda district consisting of Viseisei, Lauwaki, Lomolomo, Namara and Abaca villages.

His successor is expected to be named straight after the funeral.

It is understood that the mataqali responsible for the naming of the Tui Vuda are not usually present at funeral gatherings but instead usually gather elsewhere to deliberate on the new successor.

Once a name is confirmed, it is blessed traditionally before the chiefly installation takes place.

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