Sunvoice

Filling of vacant chiefly titles ensures unity of the iTaukei

The Ministry of the iTaukei Affairs wants all vacant chiefly titles in villages around the country to be filled to avoid disputes and disunity. Vacant titles include those at sub-clan (tokatoka), clan (mataqali) and the tribe (yavusa) level. They are all customary titles.
29 May 2019 12:57
Filling of vacant chiefly titles ensures unity of the iTaukei
The next Tui Nayau... Ratu Finau Mara.

Editorial:

The Ministry of the iTaukei Affairs wants all vacant chiefly titles in villages around the country to be filled to avoid disputes and disunity.

Vacant titles include those at sub-clan (tokatoka), clan (mataqali) and the tribe (yavusa) level. They are all customary titles.

It is important that this happens because there is a huge role and responsibility that comes with leading the vanua.

Chiefs play an important role within iTaukei communities.

A new dimension to this issue is disputes over chiefly titles.

This never happened in the past.

The reason is that members of sub clans of the chiefly clans respected each other.

Whenever a chiefly position was vacant, they would choose the eldest person within the clan to lead.

Times have changed and members of the chiefly clans have their own interpretation on who should lead.

However, the ministry has the Native Land Register or Vola Ni Kawa Bula (VKB) under the Native Lands Commission (NLC) that has the true record of iTaukei people.

If your name is in the VKB records, it established which mataqali (clan) you belong to, links you to the ownership of the land, qoliqoli (fishing grounds) and other resources the mataqali has.

In addition, these records enable the iTaukei Affairs Board to carry out other vital work to safeguard the welfare of indigenous people.

With these the ministry is able solve land conflicts, decide on customary title disputes, proceed in the orderly filling of vacant chiefly post and support sustainable development in villages.

For disputes, the NLC can only intervene when asked by those concerned.

Any chiefly dispute is not good for iTaukei society.

There will be no dispute if the selection process is properly followed.

The Liuliu ni Yavusa (head of a tribe) as head of the Bose Vanua and Village Council shall ensure that:

(a) Meetings are frequently convened;

(b) Traditional customs are protected, and spiritual development is encouraged;

(c) Remain neutral and resolve disputes among the mataqali (clans) where his/her help is needed;

(d) Encourage education and other social initiatives focused on the development of the iTaukei;

(e) Ensure that the safety and the concerns of the community are appropriately addressed; and

(f) Represent the yavusa (tribe) to the Tikina Bose Vanua.

With the social changes now entering the iTaukei community it’s affecting their cultural and traditional life.

Some, especially the educated ones, are using their rights under the Constitution to question the roles of the chiefs.

To counter this the ministry has been organising leadership workshops in iTaukei villages.

The chiefs represent the people, the land, the customs.

Without chiefs there is no iTaukei society.

When iTaukei chiefs are attacked or criticised in whatever capacity — personal or political — it is the iTaukei vanua which is also being criticised. (Quoted in Lawson 1996:62)

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