10 Dec 2002

Call in Fiji for Rabuka to lose life membership of Chief's Council

3:07 pm on 10 December 2002

Moves are afoot in Fiji to strip the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, or his life membership of the Great Council of Chiefs.

The Fiji Sun reports that this is revealed in the review of the indigenous Fijian Administration prepared by Price WaterhouseCoopers.

Mr Rabuka was made a life member of the Great Council of Chiefs for leading the 1987 military coups in what was seen as an enhancement of indigenous rights.

Although a commoner, he was made chairman of the council after he lost the 1999 general election but lost the position to Ratu Epeli Ganilau a year later.

Representatives of Tailevu province have suggested that Mr Rabuka's life membership be revoked.

A member of the Lomaiviti Provincial Council is also quoted as saying that Mr Rabuka should be stripped of his membrship of the council because the 1997 Constitution he produced as prime minister has been rejected by indigenous Fijians.

The issue of Mr Rabuka's membership and that of others is likely to go before the Great Council.