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Mataqali Hopes For End Of Land Dispute Soon

Mataqali Hopes For End Of Land Dispute Soon
Vatuwaqa clan leader Watisoni Ratulevu points at his ancestors land at Flagstaff in Suva on September 10, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua
September 11
10:56 2018

Watisoni Ratulevu yesterday stood on the land he and his Vatuwaqa mataqali members claim belongs to them, and expressed their hope that their dream would be realised soon.

The prime 35-acre land, at Flagstaff in Suva, has been a subject of dispute for many years.

The dispute is whether it belongs to the mataqali (clan) or yavusa (tribe). The mataqali and the yavusa are both called Vatuwaqa. The yavusa consists of five mataqali: Vuanimocelolo, Nasau, Na Ceva, Boutaci and Vatuwaqa.

Mr Ratulevu said they were seeking a clarification from the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission, iTaukei Land Trust Board, Ministry of Lands and the Prime Minister’s office on their land ownership title.

At the moment the land has been regis­tered with the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) as owned by the Yavusa Vatuwaqa.

However, the Mataqali Vatuwaqa claims that it should be registered under the mataqali and not the yavusa.

The land was also registered under the Ministry of Lands as mataqali land.

TLTB deputy general manager (opera­tions, research and development) Solomoni Nata said the land had been registered un­der the Yavusa Vatuwaqa since 1997.

He said it was gazetted and it followed the proper processes. He said they would work according to the law and what had been documented.

Mr Nata added that the only solution to the problem was having the five mataqali in the yavusa Vatuwaqa to solve the issue among themselves.

“That’s the only solution. We just work ac­cording to the law. We can’t cut in to the dis­cussions within the yavusa,” he said.

“If they are willingly to settle things out, then there’s nothing that could stop that.”

He said they were supposed to have a meet­ing with the mataqali yesterday, but its reps had postponed it due to commitments.

Seven families are living on the site claim­ing that is their ancestral land and the sa­cred burial ground of their forefathers.

They grow dalo, ginger and vegetables on the land. Other than that most of the land is untouched. Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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