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A great leader worth emulating

Written By : General Editor. Every few generations a nation produces a leader whose deeds and legacy pass the stringent test of time. Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, whose birthday we
29 May 2008 12:00

Written By : General Editor. Every few generations a nation produces a leader whose deeds and legacy pass the stringent test of time.
Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, whose birthday we celebrate today, was one such man. Soldier, statesman and reformer, Ratu Sukuna lived for Fiji and its people. From his famous three-legged stool to the Native Land Trust Board, his thoughts and deeds are still very much part of our modern Fiji.
Sure adjustments will need to be made, but the NLTB in particular was always a work in progress for Ratu Sukuna who we feel certain would have been disappointed if he could see that it has barely developed since he left us. Perhaps disappointed is the wrong word – for he had a way of banging heads together.
Possibly the last of the true traditional Melanesian leaders who saw his role as distribution as opposed to accumulation of wealth, Ratu Sukuna died all but penniless as was thought befitting a man of his rank and stature.
With the possible exception of his friend, confidante and cousin, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, Ratu Sukuna was followed by a generation of leaders that can only be described as “lesser” when their deeds and words are held up against those of the great man.
Certainly, Fiji would benefit from the presence of another Ratu Sukuna right now.
But it seems that is not to be. We must either make the most of the leaders we have or make the most of any opportunity to appoint the leaders we would like to have. But no latter day Ratu Sukuna can be seen waiting in the wings for his hour upon the stage – and Fiji is the poorer for it. Still, there’s nothing to be gained from pining for the good old days. Fiji is in a bind and it is no longer relevant whose fault it is or isn’t. We have to work our way through this with the tools that are available to us, though heaven knows these are barely adequate for the task.
At the same time it is difficult not to speculate on what Ratu Sukuna would have made of today’s Fiji. It’s perhaps best just to acknowledge that he would not have completely approved.
It’s also a safe bet that he would not have approved of us celebrating his life and achievements by taking a day off work.



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