14 Mar 2012

Abolition of Fiji chiefs' council removal of mainstay says former chairperson

4:46 pm on 14 March 2012

A former chairperson of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs says the interim government's decision to abolish it removes a body that's been a mainstay during times of instability.

The iTaukei Affairs (Great Council of Chiefs) Revocation Regulation was gazetted on Friday.

The council was suspended following the 2006 military coup and in 2008 new regulations governing it were introduced.

Sitiveni Rabuka, who led the 1987 military coup, says it may be that today's young people and those of the future no longer want the council.

But he says the interim prime minister wants to play down the traditional chiefs' roles and give ascendancy to the common Fijian to ensure equal status.

"Maybe the young people now and the people of the future will take that up as the ideal for the future of Fiji. But as far as I have seen the council of chiefs had, although been purely advisory, it has been the mainstay when things were unstable in Fiji."

Sitiveni Rabuka says the Great Council of Chiefs has been a mainstay during times of instability.