FIJI President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has cautioned the nation to be wary of declaring Fiji a Christian state.
In his Independence Day address to the nation yesterday afternoon, the President said the nation had already endured enough division over ethnic and religious lines.
In his address Ratu Epeli traced ethnic divisions in the country to the flawed common roll voting system in Fiji saying it remained one of the key contributors to the country's' political instability.
"I am certain that as we search the world today, we will hardly find any country — especially a modern, prosperous and progressive country —that votes along ethnic lines."
"If anything, our current voting system only served to accentuate our differences instead of appreciating the richness in our diversity."
Ratu Epeli said the declaration of Fiji as a Christian state — like the common roll system of voting- would only bring more division to Fiji and its people.
"This (Christian state) would effectively further divide our people based on religious beliefs.
"I humbly advise that we should tread with the uttermost caution on this issue for I am a firm believer in the age-old adage of "the separation of the church and the state".
Speaking on past affirmative action policies Ratu Epeli said these had brought preferential treatment for certain groups of people further dividing the people of the nation.
"Corruption set in and became systemic and we began to see the huge disparity between the rich and the less fortunate," he said.
Ratu Epeli said the subsequent national crisis, whether political or economic, impacted the larger population in a way that could not be measured in monetary terms nor compensated.