No Chiefs’ Body Okay, Says Poll
Majority agree that the Great Council of Chiefs had been politicised
More people agree with the abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs because it had become politicised, the latest Fiji Sun poll reveals. In the fourth weekly Fiji Sun poll, 58 per cent voted yes, 41 ticked no and one per cent was unsure. The outcome vindicated the Prime Minister, Rear-Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama, in his decision to abolish the council which had become a hotbed for national politics. The poll indicated that scrapping the council did not threaten the existence of chiefs as an institution. If it did anything, it strengthened the position of chiefs by allowing them to focus on their core roles to look after their people in terms of development. The poll re-inforces the school of thought that chiefs should not personally get involved in national politics. They should concentrate on preserving and fulfilling their traditional roles. Advocates say if they enter politics, they must be prepared to get attacked and maligned by opponents. The harsh reality of politics could also hurt the feelings of the chiefs’ traditional loyal subjects. It could devalue the chiefly system through loss of respect. The poll also showed that the equal distribution of lease money is resonating well among iTaukei landowners. It clearly indicated a paradigm shift in attitude. The iTaukei are now more interested in economic issues which are tangible and directly linked to their land and natural resources than the politics of abstract things. The rhetorics about the council may stir emotions but they fail to address the real needs of the iTaukei. This is reflected in Ro Teimumu Kepa’s standing in the latest poll. The leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party and the paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga, the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, has dropped from eight per cent to three per cent in the Preferred Prime Minister stakes. Her non-inclusive, pro-iTaukei maiden speech a week ago, which marginalised other races, has come back to haunt her. Instead of a speech seeking broad appeal she reverted to the old SDL’s nationalist policies. The PM maintains his lead at 79 per cent. Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry is at five per cent. In the Preferred Party stakes, the PM’s proposed party has jumped from 41 per cent to 44 per cent to maintain its lead. SODELPA remains on eight in second place.