Church says it will not interfere in chiefly installation

President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Reverend Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa. Picture: FT FILE

THE Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma will only bless the Vunivalu of Bau if the chiefly household and the vanua is in unison with the installation.

That is the word of the Rev Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa, the president of the church, while speaking to this newspaper after the installation was called off on Thursday.

“The church can’t do anything if there is a split in the chiefly family of Bau. It will observe; if everything is right then it will do the work to bless whoever is chosen to be the Vunivalu during the installation,” Dr Vakadewavosa said.

On Thursday, Native Lands Commission chairman Ratu Isireli Vananalagi Vesikula said he called off the installation of Ratu Epenisa Cakobau which was scheduled to take place yesterday.

He said after meeting with members of the Tui Kaba clan namely Mataiwelagi, Naisogolaca, Muaidule and Naqaranikula on Wednesday, the commission was not able to resolve an internal conflict between the clan members.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said officers were sent to Bau and took Ratu Epenisa and key players in for questioning. He said information was received that the parties were adamant about continuing with the installation ceremony despite the decision made by the NLC.

According to Viliame Savu, the turaga ni koro of Bau, they had a thanksgiving church service yesterday.

“Everything is OK here on Bau, we are here with the police and everything here is running smoothly like always,” Mr Savu said yesterday morning.

*More developments on this story later in the day