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EDITORIAL: Genuinely Nice Konrote Also Man Of True Courage

Yesterday was certainly a joyous and proud moment for Rotumans worldwide.  The nation witnessed the swearing-in of Fiji’s new President, Jioji Konrote. He becomes the first non-iTaukei chief and first
13 Nov 2015 12:08
EDITORIAL: Genuinely Nice Konrote Also Man Of True Courage
President Jioji Konousi Konrote (middle) with his siblings and family after the swear-in as president at Government House yesterday. Photo: Rama

Yesterday was certainly a joyous and proud moment for Rotumans worldwide.  The nation witnessed the swearing-in of Fiji’s new President, Jioji Konrote.

He becomes the first non-iTaukei chief and first Rotuman to be elected to Government House.

While his predecessor, the popular Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, will be a hard act to follow, President Konrote certainly possesses the right attributes to do the same and more.

Like Ratu Epeli, President Konrote is a man of the people. He is often described as being firm and fair, a genuinely nice man. Someone who is down to earth and people-friendly.

He is also a man who has never lacked courage in the face of adversity.

In fact President Konrote was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in 1982. This is one of the Commonwealth’s highest military honours for bravery.

It came for his efforts while serving as a major in the Fiji Battalion that was part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

This was a dangerous and deadly time for peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, with armed elements attacking Israel and the Israelis responding.

A citation for his efforts included the following: “Major Konrote took command of A Company 1st Battalion of the Fiji Infantry Regiment in Lebanon in July 1980.

“Earlier that year, the South Lebanese villages of Al Qilaylah and Al Hinniyah were controlled by various armed factions who maintained their armed presence in defiance of United Nations policy.

“On his arrival Major Konrote brought these villages under the effective control of the United Nations command by his courageous diplomacy and sound peacekeeping tactics.”

The citation also tells how Mr Konrote personally led his men from the front in successful efforts to confront and block dangerous armed elements.

He also bravely risked his life helping local people trapped in the conflict.

He later rose to command the Fiji Battalion in these troubled times in southern Lebanon.

Then he was honoured by the United Nations by being appointed the first and only Fijian to be Force Commander, and a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General.

But President Konrote is much more than a soldier as his successful subsequent careers as a diplomat and Government Minister illustrates.

Like Ratu Epeli, President Konrote is also expected to continue to be a strong advocate for the young – among other issues.

We wish you every success, President Konrote, and new First Lady Sarote Konrote.

 



FS JAB DRIVE


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