A major row has erupted two days before the planned installation of the new Vunivalu of Bau.
Ratu George Kadavulevu Cakobau Junior will challenge Ratu Epenisa Cakobau’s planned installation on Bau Island tomorrow.
His older sister, Adi Litia Cakobau, made the official announcement yesterday, outside the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission building at Nasova in Suva, 15 minutes after a meeting with the commission chairperson Ratu Sireli Vananalagi Vesikula.
Present in the meeting were Ratu Epenisa, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Adi Litia Cakobau, Ratu George and Ratu George Kadavulevu Naulivou.
In another twist (full story Page 2) to the row, Turaga na Roko Tui Bau, Ratu Timothy Daniel, the head of the Yavusa Ratu, which conducts the installation, said he was withdrawing from the installation ceremony because the proper procedure was not followed in Ratu Epenisa’s selection.
Adi Litia said the meeting with Ratu Sireli was good.
She said Ratu Epenisa heard the truth about the installation.
Adi Litia said they had prepared their letter for the challenge and a copy was sent to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in his capacity as Minister for iTaukei Affairs and one was delivered to Ratu Sireli.
She also said they might seek a court injunction for the installation to be stopped.
“We still have time,” she said
Ratu Epenisa declined to comment saying: “It’s been a long day.” But it is understood he is going ahead with the ceremony.
Ratu George, Ratu Epenisa, Ratu Epeli, Ratu George Kadavulevu Naulivou and Adi Litia are all members of the chiefly Tui Kaba clan. Any member of the clan, unanimously selected by the clan members, can be installed as Vunivalu.
Ratu George and Ratu Epenisa are half-brothers. Their father was the late Ratu Sir George Cakobau, the first local Governor-General of Fiji and the last Vunivalu. The title has been vacant since his death in 1989.
Ratu George is Ratu Sir George’s only son from his first marriage to Adi Veniana Gavoka. He has two older siblings, the late Adi Samanunu Cakobau Talakuli, a former diplomat and former minister, and Adi Litia, a former senator.
Ratu Epenisa is Ratu Sir George’s eldest son from his second marriage to Adi Lady Lelea Seruwaia Balekiwai. He has three siblings, Adi Salote Kaunilotuma Cakobau, Ratu Josefa Celua Cakobau and Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa Cakobau.
Ratu Sireli said he would first brief Mr Bainimarama before he could make a statement.
It is understood the Tui Kaba clan members had not met to select Ratu Epenisa.
He said the four sub-clans in the Tui Kaba clan – Mataiwelagi, Naisogolaca, Qaranikula and Muaidule – would normally meet and unanimously select the candidate.
They then submit the name to the vanua to prepare for the installation.