- 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
RE : MISUSE OF FUNDS FOR POLITICAL PARTY/CAMPAIGN
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
- 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and ten thousand dollars withdrawn and given as a non-refundable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.
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)
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)
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
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
From John Muaror (12 May 1999)
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
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