Kingmakers not happy

NLC chairperson Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula with a staff member leaves the from the chiefly residence of the Tui Labasa after meeting with clans in Labasa. Picture LUKE RAWALAI/FILE

THE sauturaga clan (kingmakers’ clan) of the Tui Labasa are not happy with the protocols being followed to install their chief.

After their meeting with the Native Lands Commission yesterday in Naseakula Village in Labasa, the Koya Mai Nailawa, Ratu Peni Taloga Raiqiso, clarified they were not a claimant of the title.

Ratu Peni said as the traditional kingmakers of the Tui Labasa, their role continued to be ignored by the ruling Qomate clan, undermining their existence and duty to the vanua as a clan.

“In 1922 when the first Tui Labasa, Ratu Aporosa Davelevu was installed, he was traditionally acknowledged by our clan, the Nailawa clan before we informed the traditional cup bearers of the Tui Labasa from Koibau to carry out the installation ceremony,” Ratu Peni said.

“This was the protocol that was to be followed but in time, this has changed, the kingmakers clan has been denied their role.

“The Koibau clan are responsible for handing the installation bilo (cup) to the Tui Labasa to signify the vanua acknowledgment of his title.

“After the installation, the yau (gifts) collected during the installation is taken to Caumatalevu to the Tui Macuata as acknowledgment of the relations between him and the Tui Labasa.”

Ratu Peni said their roles were critical in the installation process because they endorsed the blessings of the vanua to the Tui Labasa. “We respect the decision of the commission, but we feel that we continue to be ignored and denied our role,” he said.

Earlier, Qomate clan spokesman Ratu Sailosi Ritova Qomate said the Tui Macuata would be installing the Tui Labasa at the end of this month.

Speaking to the chiefly clans within Naseakula, the commission’s chairman, Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula, encouraged them to resolve their differences in an amicable process.

Ratu Vananalagi told clan leaders to preserve the image of their village and people for the sake of peace.

He is expected to hold talks with the claimant clans and the kingmakers clan today.

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