Sourced Content (Edited)
Suva, Fiji, April 28, 2018
Social Democratic Liberal Party Leader Sitiveni Rabuka has said that he has reservations on using ‘Fijian’ as a common name following the adoption of the 2013 Constitution.
Speaking to law students at the University of Fiji earlier this week, he said that personally he has three reservations on the common name.
He said that the people of Fiji were never consulted about the name change and that it was imposed, just like the unilateral revocation of the 1997 Constitution and removal and abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs.
Right to consultation
Mr Rabuka said that the people of Fiji have a right to be consulted and to be heard on this very important issue.
He said that the 2013 Constitution, for the first time in Fiji’s constitutional history, has allowed a Fiji citizen to hold citizenship of a foreign State simultaneously.
“This dual nationality is a good thing in the context of our globalised world, but it creates the dubious situation about a person’s patriotic loyalty and attachment to Fiji when one is at the same time the national of another State,” he said.
Mr Rabuka said that his third reservation was that it ignores the group rights and self-determination of indigenous iTaukei and Rotuman people.
More than Citizenship
Mr Rabuka said that these group rights had been recognised from the outset of British colonial administration of Fiji following the Deed of Session between the British Crown and the High Chiefs of Fiji on 10th October 1874.
He said that for an indigenous iTaukei, to be called a ‘Fijian’ means much more than being a citizen of Fiji.
“It means being registered in the iTaukei Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) as a member of a customary landowning Mataqali.”
Revisiting the Constitution
Mr Rabuka said that in the event SODELPA wins majority seats in Parliament in the upcoming General Election, he will resume the work that he and former politician Jai Ram Reddy started in the 1997 Constitution.
He said that they will develop in full consultation with the people of Fiji, and with an all-parties consensus decision in Parliament, for a review of the 2013 Fiji Constitution.
The above Report has been published by Indian Newslink under a Special Agreement with Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC News).
Sitiveni Rabuka in Suva, Fiji
(Picture from Fiji Sun, under a Special Arrangement)