FIJI NEWS

Why Roko Ului has gone quiet

By LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara who fled to Tonga in 2011 while awaiting a sedition trial and  became the face of a Sydney-based anti-Government pressure group, has gone
23 Dec 2013 10:26

Former Republic of Fiji Military Forces Land Force Commander Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

By LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara who fled to Tonga in 2011 while awaiting a sedition trial and  became the face of a Sydney-based anti-Government pressure group, has gone quiet.
He has been told to tone down his rhetoric  as relations between Tonga and Fiji improve significantly.
Roko Ului, as he is commonly known, now  holds one of the most prominent positions in the kingdom, as private secretary to the King of Tonga, King Tupou VI.
As such he is required to maintain decorum and dignity that are compatible with his office. He cannot be seen to be affiliated or aligned to a pressure or activist group.
As part of his remuneration, Roko Ului is provided transport and accommodation.
Due to his close ties to the royal family, Princess Pilolevu Tuita, the sister of the late King George Tupou V and the current King of Tonga, Tupou VI, gave him one of her islands.
Roko Ului is said to be developing the island for eco-tourism. His last public political statement was in March 1 this year.
In May 2011, Roko Ului, the former Land Force Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, was charged with inciting sedition. But while on bail he was secretly picked up by a Tongan navy patrol boat in Fiji waters near Kadavu and fled to Tonga.
The incident caused a major diplomatic spat between Fiji and Tonga. It escalated to increased tensions over the Minerva Reef territorial matters.
The tension later fizzled out and since then the two countries had repaired their relations. Fiji has helped and stood by Tonga on several regional issues.
Tonga has also reciprocated.



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