Vanua to install Tui Labasa despite opposition

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 vanua of Labasa will proceed with the installation of the Tui Labasa by the end of this month as scheduled earlier despite opposition from various clans.

Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere confirmed this yesterday, saying it was too sketchy to say anything more on the traditional installation.

Ratu Wiliame said they were still in talks with the chiefly Tui Labasa clan.

“We should be able to formalise things on Wednesday this week, finalising the preparations and the other procedures that will take place during the installation,” he said.

Close family members of the Tui Labasa who wished to remain anonymous at this stage have also confirmed the installation would be carried out on Friday next week.

Ratu Wiliame and his people of Naduri will traditionally install the Tui Labasa despite opposition from the Drauna clan who had called the Native Lands Commission earlier this month, claiming the position.

Commission chairman Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula told this newspaper they would rely on their previous ruling in favour of the Qomate clan as rightful title holders.

Speaking during an earlier interview, the Qomate clan’s spokesman Ratu Sailosi Qomate Ritova said the family had chosen Ratu Jone Qomate to be installed as the next Tui Labasa.

Ratu Sailosi said the various clans with traditional roles for the installation of the Tui Labasa have been made aware of the installation, adding that Naseakula Village was expected to be a hive of activities during the installation. The chiefly title has been vacant since the late Marama Tui Labasa Adi Salanieta Tuilomaloma Qomate Ritova died in November 2016 after a short illness.

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