28 Oct 2004

More challenges issued over Fiji's non racial constitution

8:34 pm on 28 October 2004

A Fiji government senator is challenging the legality of the 1997 Constitution by calling for a commission of inquiry to determine whether it is valid.

Radio Legend reports that Senator Mohammed Apisai Tora has told the Upper House an inquiry is necessary because of the serious concerns and doubts in the minds of many citizens about the process which led to the adoption of the Constitution.

The constitution was unanimously passed by both houses of parliament as well as the Great Council of Chiefs.

Now a senator newly appointed by the Great Council, Ratu Kinijioji Vakawaletabua, says an inquiry is necessary because the indigenous Fijian people are tired of deception and the open disrespect shown to them by those who wrote the 1997 Constitution.

He says those who imposed the 1997 Constitution on Fijians committed a crime against humanity.

But the newly appointed Labour Party senator, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has attacked Senator Tora and others who, he says, are misleading the nation.

Dr Nailatikau, who was the military's chief medical officer during the 2000 coup and mutiny, says he has seen too many indigenous Fijians hurt by those who mislead them with malicious lies that they are not protected by the constitution.