By Peni Komaisavai
An attempt to install Solomoni Naisau Nabuta as the Tui Ba was stopped today by police.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro says police met with Nailaga villagers today. “Police officers, the District officer and other officials met with the villagers regarding a plan to go ahead with the Tui Ba installation. Police advised those present to adhere to follow the legal channels in accordance with the NLC [Native Lands Commission].”
Nabuta is the eldest son of a previous Tui Ba, the late Adi Nanise. Nabuta has maternal links to the ruling chiefly mataqali of Vatuniseasara in Nailaga, Ba. Installation of a “vasu”, someone who has maternal (not paternal) links to a village would be unprecedented.
Meanwhile Native Lands Commission Chairman, Ratu Sireli Vananalagi Vesikula says the NLC has not endorsed any claimant to the Tui Ba title.
“We are aware that Nabuta only has maternal links to Nailaga. We will approach this by the book, we will go down to Ba in July to create an awareness and to sit with the members of the chiefly mataqali of Vatuniseasara,” Ratu Vesikula said.
“From there we will see if he is eligible or not, because there are a lot of contenders for that position from that same mataqali, so we will have to go down and sit down and thoroughly discuss the issue with them.”
Villagers confirmed the presence of police early this morning, and allegedly advised people in the installation sheds to clear the village green earlier today.
Authorities were alerted by an opposing faction of the same Mataqali Vatuniseasara.
Editor’s note: The earlier version of the story had mistakenly stated that Nabuta was the eldest son of one of the Tui Ba, the late Adi Senimili Cagilaba. Family of the Tui Ba has since pointed out the error and we apologized for the mixup.