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The following letter was sent by Dr. Tukaha Mua to the Chairman of the Rotuma Seven Districts Committee in Suva. We are posting it on the Rotuman Forum at his request.
15 April 1999
The Chairman
Rotuma Seven Districts Committee

Dear Sir,


You will recall that in 1997 I was Chairman of the Seven Districts Committee when the decision to start the Political Party was accepted. At a special sitting of the council of Rotuma, I explained this proposition to the chiefs on the island.

With their blessing, we, the leaders of the Seven Districts in Suva were to draft a constitution which would then be given to the Rotuman people of Fiji wide and on the island. This will enable those who wish to join and support the party to do so. Those who form the political party will then elect their officials, raise their own funds and sponsor their own candidate.

This political party is not the Chief's party, of the Rotuma Seven Districts in Suva, Lautoka, Nadi or Vatukoula. Therefore it will at no financial cost to the council of Rotuma and the many Rotumans who do no wish to join or support it. These details I made abundantly clear to:

1. The Council of Rotuma
2. The leaders of the Seven Districts in Suva
3. My own Malhaha District members in Suva
4. Other districts through their elected leaders.

When I relinquished leadership of the Seven Districts committee in Suva, Susau Managreve not only took over that role, he maintained the same rigid stance that funds be used sparingly to complete the draft constitution only. They were certainly not to be used to sponsor a political party , or candidate.

Regrettably , a few scant weeks after Susau Managreve relinquished control of this committee, the Suva Seven Districts $21,000 fixed deposit was terminated, a penalty paid, agreed interest forfeited and ten thousand dollars withdrawn and given as a non-refundable gift to start the political party and sponsor its candidate.

This is and exact blueprint of the $220 million dollar NBF scandal. The Seven District leaders currently in office who authorised withdrawal and giving away this $10,000 certainly have authority to do so, but that decision was wrong and a blatant abuse of office.

In July 1997, the Hon. Paul Manueli, informed the Seven Districts committee of his intention not to seek re-election. He further cautioned would-be aspirants for the Rotuman Communal Seat that this is a very expensive venture because the constituency boundary covers the entire nation. The leaders of the political party and its candidate are therefore fully aware of the financial implications involved. Instead of following the personal financial sacrifice Paul Manueli endured, they chose to plunder the Suva Seven Districts funds.

John F Kennedy, former US President, in his 1963 inaugural address to the nation offered this little piece of advice the Seven District Leaders, Lio on Famor Rotuma Political Party and its candidate would do well not only to remember but practice :

"Ask not what your Country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your Country."

Starting a political career by dipping your fingers into 50% of Suva Seven District committees funds is no hallmark of an acceptable leader for our community. As a former custodian of this money, I would like your committee and the Political Party, and its officials and its candidates to immediately return :

2.The penalty incurred for breaking the fixed deposit
3.The forfeited interest to the rightful owners of this money.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Tukaha Mua.



From Rigamoto Kafoa Tonu (23 April 1999)
P.O. Box 98
Vatukoula, Fiji
TEl. 680816

I wish to comment on Dr. Tukaha Mua's essay in which he raised the issue of $10,000 authorised by the committee of Suva Rotuma Seven Districts to complete the work that he, Dr. Mua and his committee proposed in his house to form a Rotuman political party in 1997. He mentioned that the committees have the authority. So they used that authority to donate $10,000 to complete the work and register the first Rotuman political party in the last minute of the day for registration (10/03/99). As a Rotuman I am proud to thank the above committees for the hard work they have done for the above reason.

Secondly, he, Dr. Mua compares the committee to the $220 million NBF scandal. As an elder and former chairman of the Rotuman community in Suva, he should feel ashamed of himself for raising the NBF scandal issue. Because some of his campaigning group and their independent candidate for next month's election were the ones involved and owe half a million dollars to the NBF scandal.

I, as a caring Rotuman, do not want to put someone in parliament to repeat the same, NBF issue.

Rigamoto Kafoa Tonu (J.P.)
Loloma, Vatukoula

From Sosefo Inoke (27 April 1999)
Innisfail, Australia

Dr Mua's letter makes a very valid point. Should the Seven Districts Associations represented by the Seven Districts Committee be involved in party politics? By making the donation the Committee and the Associations have become involved. One of the negative effects of this involvement has already manifested itself in the polarisation of the community. Sides are being taken and the battle lines drawn. It will require astute leadership to keep the community united. There is no doubt that both candidates have the best interests of Rotumans at heart and both will face the same financial difficulties in their respective campaigns. Why can't a similar donation be made to both candidates. That seems to be the only fair thing to do.

Dr Mua says that the Association was authorised. I presume he means there are provisions in the various Constitutions that authorise this. However, he implied that the Committee was forbidden from supporting any political party. If that was the case then the donation must also be forbidden. In any event an organisation that allows it's Committee to spend one half of its capital without getting approval of its members in a general meeting needs to relook at its Constitution.

Lastly the reference to NBF is uncalled for. It only detracts from an otherwise very valid issue.

From Anna Elaise (3 May 1999)
Suva, Fiji

I would like to respond to Dr Mua's letter that has been bandied around the networks and the media as some sort of biblical guideline that needs to be taken heed of.

Firstly, I must put on record my disappointment and disgust that such a matter has been made the major point of contention between two very good candidates for the Rotuma seat and their supporters.

I may not be a member of the Rotuma Seven Districts Committee but I am a contributing member to one of the districts. My understanding thus, of the RSDC was that it incorporated representatives from the seven districts to meet and discuss and wherever possible act on issues relevant to the people of Rotuma. Because we cannot all be in the RSDC - our representatives went into whatever RSDC meeting with our call. The decisions, therefore, coming out of the RSDC come as an agreed issue.

Dr Mua may question the RSDC on its decision to relinquish a contribution of that proportion to a political party (he has; like every other Rotuman, the right to do so) but if he is using this right -- plus comparing the matter to the recent NBF saga -- as a means to sway votes away from the party then he insults the intelligence of every free-thinking Rotuman.

With the elections coming up in the next few days, one wonders whether this is really a valid point or dirty politics in its purest form. Sadly, I for one think it is the latter.

I understand the RSDC has replied directly to Dr Mua only (and not copied their response to the media and/or every other Rotuman...) and I congratulate them for their discretion.

I wish the independent candidate well but the Party has my vote.

From Rigamoto Kafoa Tonu (7 May 1999)

I wish to comment on Dr. Tukaha Mua's letter in which he claims the political party, Lio On Famor Rotuma Party, is not the party of Chiefs of Rotuma or the Rotuma seven districts in Suva, Nadi, Lautoka or Vatukoula. On Saturday 17 April 1999 the independent candidate, Mareta Rigamoto and her group campaigning at Western Division, whereas, Dr. Tukaha mentioned that he was the chairman of the Rotuman seven districts in Suva. In which they proposed to form a Rotuman Political Party at the Committee meeting held in his residence in 1997. He said he went to Rotuma in that year to meet with the Rotuman Council of Chiefs to endorse the formation of a Rotuman Political Party that he and his committee proposed in Suva. The Rotuman Council of Chiefs gave their blessings and told him Dr. Tukaha and his committee to carry on with the good work to register the Political Party.

The birth of the first Rotuman Political Party on 10/04/99. Name Lio On Famor Rotuma meant that this Political Party belongs to the Chiefs of Rotuma and their people. The two month old political party is just like a new born baby that needs nurturing with love, warmth and care from his or her parents. To my surprise the father of this new born baby named Lio On Famor Rotuma Political Party has somehow abandoned him. Come on Dr. Tukaha, perhaps you could be playing the game of politics, but you are still the father of this new born baby. He needs your love, care and support, despite any circumstances that might hinder you from supporting this baby. We still love and care for you.

From John Muaror (12 May 1999)
Sydney, Australia

Let me just say that already a sense of division is brewing amongst the small Rotuman community in Suva, & perhaps through the whole of Fiji for that matter. Division is already evident in Sydney, a big shame. I can remember about the big sign outside the Union Office in Suva, which reads "DIVIDED we FALL,UNITED we STAND." It is in plain English and means what it reads!

We are a minority group in Fiji and the only way to progress & prosper is our united efforts in all things. The newly formed Rotuman Party (LFR), has all our interests in mind, I have no doubt about it. If there is anything suspicious at all, they will answer for it in time. Politiki is a dirty, cutthroat business, or have we no comprehension of it! Lets give the new Party the benefit of the doubt. Time will tell, so give them the opportunity to prove themselves.

Whoever wins, whether it be Kafoa Pene or Marieta Rigamoto, lets rally behind with all our combined efforts!

Thank you & our hanisi to everyone online.

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