A TEAM of police officers was deployed to the village of Naduri in Macuata yesterday to keep the peace after a split over the choice of the new Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere.
The atmosphere was tense as the two halls in the village accommodated two factions that had differences over the decision made by Taukei Namara Ratu Peni Sogia.
Divisional police commander North Senior Superintendent Fulori Rainibogi said the officers were sent to the village to keep the peace among villagers.
"We sent a team to monitor the situation in Naduri and ensure that nothing happens in the village," SSP Rainabogi said.
Police officers patrolled the village lawn and sat in meetings in the two halls. Ratu Peni and members of his tokatoka Namara sat in their own hall at one end of the village while members of the tokatoka Nawaivuvu and Vuya under the yavusa and mataqali of Caumatalevu met in the village hall in Lomanikoro of Naduri.
A heated argument erupted between Ratu Peni and traditional leaders of tokatoka Nawaivuvu and Vuya when they met to discuss the issue. Ratu Peni said in an interview with this newspaper that he had informed the traditional leaders meeting on Tuesday afternoon and no one objected.
He said the objection to the idea only happened yesterday morning.
But the turaga ni yavusa Nawaivuvu Ratu Jone Matanababa, who led a team of traditional leaders to Ratu Peni's house to ask him to call off the installation, said the consultation process followed was not right.
On his return from the meeting, he told clan members that the discussion was not fruitful as Ratu Peni had refused to call off the installation. "E katakata sara na veivosaki, caka na vei dusi, so na ka sega ni dodonu me cavuti sa cavuti ena delani katakata ni veivosaki. (It was a heated argument and fingers were pointed. Some words that were not supposed to be said were uttered.)," he said. Ratu Jone told clan members they did not agree with the decision made by Ratu Peni. He told them they were disappointed over the process followed to choose the new chief.
The disappointing factor, he said, was that the tokataka Nawaivuvu and Vuya had not met to discuss the successor of the chiefly title.
Young men in the hall suggested they visit Namara to iron out the issue with Ratu Peni while other members of the clan asked police about the powers they had to stop the installation.
But Adi Samanunu Katonivere, the younger sister of the late Tui Macuata, who was also in the hall told the men that if they wanted to clear the air with a good heart, they should visit Ratu Peni.
"Ko ga e kila ni nona itutu na gole i Namara me lai veivosaki vatakei Taukei Namara baleta na ka sa mai yaco, tucake gole kina baleta me savasava na noda tou veivosaki." (Whoever knows that they are the rightful people to go to Namara to talk to the Taukei Namara about this issue, please go so we can discuss openly with clean hearts).
Ratu Jone told his members that for the sake of keeping the peace in the village and their relationship as a family, it was important for them to remain calm and follow the proper channel of challenging the decision made by the Taukei Namara.
However, the young men present at the meeting told the elders they couldn't keep accepting such decisions because they would remain disappointed and so it was important for them to settle the matter.