Te Karere Ipurangi
Fiji Coup Supplement

May 30, 2000
FIJI - Ratu Epeli Nailatikau - Possible Prime Minister

by Ross Nepia Himona

The website www.fijilive.com reports that Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, a former army commander and husband of Chaudhry government Tourism Minister, Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, is expected to be interim Prime Minister in the new military government.

"Ratu Epeli could be the only person acceptable to all groups as he is the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara's son-in-law, hails from Bau in Kubuna confederacy, and has links to the army," states Fijilive.

"He was overthrown as army commander in 1987's military coup by then third-ranked officer, Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. Rabuka subsequently became Prime Minister while Nailatikau became Fiji's High Commissioner to United Kingdom. He has recently been Fiji's roving ambassador to the South Pacific", the report says.

Ratu Epeli has strong links with Aotearoa New Zealand. He served on secondment in the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in 1966, on active service in Sarawak (Borneo) during Indonesia's "Konfrontasi" against Malaysia. He was a popular and much respected officer. He is well known in Aotearoa New Zealand, where he is widely respected. He is also well known in Australia and in Britain, where he served as a long-term High Commissioner when Major General Sitiveni Rabuka was Prime Minister. He will have many friends in those countries as well.

He is a descendant of Ratu Seru Cakobau, the great Fijian Chief or King who conquered and united all the tribes of Fiji. His father, the late Ratu Edward Cakobau, was a famous and much loved commander of the Fijian Battalion in WW2, and was also a Deputy Prime Minister.

Both Ratu Epeli and his wife Adi Koila have kinship links to other Pacific nations. Those links are very important, and combined with his diplomatic skills, and his abilty to relate to peoples of all cultures, make him the ideal person, in my opinion, to guide Fiji into a new future, with the goodwill and assistance of Pacific nations.


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