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By TALEBULA KATE
The Constitution Commission conducted its first public consultations at the Lower Civic Auditorium in Suva yesterday.
In his address to those present at the consultations, commission chairperson, Professor Yash Ghai, said the commission was required to ensure that all Fijians are able to participate in the constitution-making process.
Professor Ghai said they would then base their decisions on the ‘wishes of the people of Fiji’.
The first public member to make his submission to the commission was the Viti Landowners and Resources Association interim president, Ratu Osea Gavidi.
Ratu Osea in his submission asked the commission if they could assemble a forum for all the 222 chiefs of Fiji to discuss the reasons for coups.
He strongly discouraged Fiji as a secular state saying: “We believe in a Christian state.
Unionist, Taniela Tabu said that the iTaukei people have nothing to fear because their land proprietary rights in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) are protected as well as their cultural and traditional inheritance.
Mr Tabu said this must never supersede and trample on the democratic rights of the people of Fiji as a whole.
“I plead to the iTaukeis’ that you have reached an important crossroad in the upholding of your Christian faith,” he said.
He also raised that a Parliament should be elected not on ethnic basis but on a one man, one vote system, modified and modelled under the 1997 Constitution.
“The 1997 Constitution should be used as a model for the new Constitution which should include citizenship, human rights, governance, state institutions and constitutional amendments,” he said.
Mr Tabu said that there should be a national day of reconciliation, urging all Christian denominations to unite with other faiths.
He suggested that the military has three commanders, each based in the central, western and northern divisions who must be under the supervision of a Government Minister.
Meanwhile, Professor Ghai shared that Somalia, now have a new Constitution, approved by the Constituent Assembly of which he and his wife had the honour of helping the Somalia Constitution Commission.
He added if Somalia with its manifold problems too complex to imagine has succeeded, surely Fiji will do so. Today the Commission will be hearing submissions from citizens at the Nasinu Town Council Chambers from 9am to 4pm.