4 Oct 2016

Fiji PM pays tribute to Madraiwiwi

5:49 pm on 4 October 2016

Fiji's prime minister has extended his sympathies to the family of the late Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi who died in Suva last week.

Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi (right) with Frank Bainimarama in 2006. Ratu Joni was a politician, lawyer and vice-president of Fiji from 2004 to 2006.

Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi (right) with Frank Bainimarama in 2006. Ratu Joni was a politician and lawyer who served as vice-president of Fiji from 2004 to 2006. Photo: AFP

In a statement, Frank Bainimarama says Fiji has lost a distinguished citizen and leader who struggled honestly to help Fiji come to terms with the issues of equality and modernity.

He says in honouring Ratu Joni, people must strive to extend and protect those values of respect, justice, fairness and equality that he valued.

Ratu Joni was Vice President for two years until 2006 when Mr Bainimarama carried out his military coup, removed Ratu Joni from office and made himself head of state for a month.

A state funeral will be held for Ratu Joni on the island of Bau on Friday.

It will also be attended by the president of Nauru where Ratu Joni served as Chief Justice.

The condolence book for Ratu Joni is open at the Nauru High Commission.

Meanwhile, Fiji's National Federation Party has paid tribute to the late Madraiwiwi saying he kept his integrity in a nation plagued by coups and political upheaval.

The NFP said Ratu Joni was twice a victim of military coups in Fiji, resigning as a judge after the 2000 coup.

The NFP said Fiji had lost a voice of reason, national conscience, hope and a unifying force.

The opposition party said Ratu Joni brought dignity and decorum to all the positions he held throughout his illustrious and unblemished career.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs