Ro Teimumu Was Not Invited: MP

SODELPA MP and lawyer Niko Nawaikula has said that Ro Teimumu Kepa was not invited to a United Nations indigenous conference in New York. He was explaining why no one
24 May 2016 10:46
Ro Teimumu Was Not Invited: MP
Niko Nawaikula and Leader of Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa.

SODELPA MP and lawyer Niko Nawaikula has said that Ro Teimumu Kepa was not invited to a United Nations indigenous conference in New York.

He was explaining why no one was waiting for the Leader of the Opposition and the Gone Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi (Paramount  chief of Burebasaga Confederacy) when she arrived at Los Angeles Airport, on her way to New York.

She did not proceed to New York because she was unhappy about the way she was treated.

It was seen as an insult and a humiliation by her many traditional subjects and political allies. Her traditional spokesperson Jese Sikivou, using strong language, accused the organisers of the trip for being disrespectful.

Mr Nawaikula issued a statement on his Facebook page.

As spokesperson for the Fiji Native Tribal Congress, he told Fijians living in the US: “The concern on the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi continued to be topical and warrant an explanation.

“I clarified the Marama was not invited but that I had sought out sponsors, and DFFM agreed, as it is vital and appropriate that a chief should head this delegation to the UN as has been the case in the past.”

DFFM is the US-based Democracy Freedom for Fiji Movement.

Mr Nawaikula said: “I take responsibility for the concern on the Marama and will be seeking the advice of my own high chief on how to address it as it will involve custom and traditional protocol.”

Mr Nawaikula’s chief is the Tui Cakau, suspended SODELPA MP Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. Ratu Naiqama could not be reached to comment.

Mr Nawaikula’s statement is likely to cause more controversy. It’s the second he has issued in  a matter of days and they have offended Ro Teimumu’s supporters.

In the first statement, Mr Nawaikula said  it was unfortunate that Ro Teimumu did not attend the indigenous conference.

He added: “It did not affect, however, our efforts in NY where I took over at the drivers seat in her absence.”

He declared himself as “second in command.”

He said FNTC was not happy with the manner in which one of its partner NGO, FIPF, has opted to criticise and discuss in public, views that should remain private that has given the impression of a house divided.

This Sacramento meet has resolved that the officials of FNTC Sacramento is tasked to resolve this.

He has admitted for the first time that Fijians, particularly the iTaukei fighting for indigenous interests in the US, are split.

FIPF (Fiji Indigenous Peoples Foundation) official Adi Asenaca Caucau had publicly criticised FNTC over the way Ro Teimumu was treated.

Adi Asenaca said she was appalled. She said they were interested in hosting Ro Teimumu but could not get her itinerary from FNTC.

She appealed to all Fijians to support FIPF because “we are organised, trusted, efficient and effective with strong leadership and integrity.”

On the New York conference, Mr Nawaikula said: “There are things stated at this meeting that are left at that and what appear here are extracts and edited versions appropriate for the public as it should.”

“I explained again our struggle is the restoration of our group rights without condition.”

Edited by Paula Tuvuki



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