5 Jan 2005

Fiji pays tribute to former political leader

10:44 am on 5 January 2005

Fiji's opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has praised the contribution made to the nation's politics by the leader the the Fijian Association Party, Adi Kuini Speed, who died over the weekend.

In his condolence message, Mr Chaudhry said Adi Kuini was never flinching in her opposition to the two coups and the pervasion of racism that accompanied them.

Patrick Decloitre reports from Suva on the reaction to her death:

"Adi Kuini Speed was a respected High Chief in Fiji's traditional system. She could also have been Fiji's first female Prime Minister..at least that is the view of the Citizens Constiutional Forum Executive Director, the Reverend Aquila Yabaki. In 1987, her own husband, Dr Timoci Bavadra, became the first target of Fiji's first coup. Dr Bavadra died a few months later. Ever since she became on of the most outspoken advocates of racial tolerance and harmony, a moderate voice that many political leaders have this week aknowledged and say they will miss."