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Ratu Epeli Nailatikau - Possible Prime Minister
Te Karere Ipurangi - Fiji Coup Supplement
May 31, 2000
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. Adi Koila is still being held hostage.
"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 has many friends and is widely respected. He is also well known in Australia.
He is a descendant of Cakobau, the great Fijian Chief or King who conquered and united all the tribes of Fiji. His father was a famous and much loved commander of the Fijian Battalion in WW2.
Both Ratu Epeli and his wife Adi Koila have kinship links through the Pacific. Those links, 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 through the present crisis into a new future, with the goodwill and assistance of other Pacific nations.
If he does become Prime Minister.
Link to main page on Fiji.