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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Fiji Times - Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A TOTAL of 2462 mataqali (landowning units) and 584 yavusa (clans) have yet to choose their respective heads, the Native Lands Commission revealed yesterday.
This, according to provincial administrators, hindered the progress of developments within Fiji's 14 provinces.
They said that efforts to utilise native land for commercial purposes had to be shelved for most of the heads of the landowning units and clans have yet to be traditionally installed.
"The delay affects progress in terms of land development on the commercial level," said Roko Tui Bua Kalivati Tauvoli.
He said despite having an abundance of natural resources, developing the land in Bua was restricted because traditional leaders were yet to be confirmed in their positions.
For the Bua Province alone, 32 landowning unit heads and 162 clan heads have yet to be confirmed.
Mr Tauvoli said it was encouraging to see that some mataqali and yavusa had taken the initiatiave to traditionally install their leaders for the past six months.
He said failing to deregister the names of leaders who had passed away also contributed to the delay.
Based on the figures, Tailevu Province has the highest number of vacant positions for landowning unit heads with 377 recorded as of June this year.
The NLC said that filling vacant positions was an ongoing practice which they would like each province to fulfil for the benefit of the members.
However the NLC said each mataqali and yavusa had a strict criteria to follow before they forwarded the names to each provincial office for approval.
Roko Tui Ba Ratu Sireli Vesikula said yesterday that based on the figures a lot of work had to be done to avoid unneccessary delays.
He said filling the respective positions was the prerogative of the vanua.
He said that he would be calling a meeting for all chiefs in the province of Ba to remind them of their obligation to come up with names to fill up all the vacant positions.
He said the government machinery on development depended so much on the traditional leaders.
He said that unlike before, leadership in village settings today was crucial based on good governance, transparency and accountability.
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