by Kai Colo - 22 February 2010
What occurred on an ordinary Suva afternoon Friday 19th February 2010 is the feat of a Fijian folk legend to be told.
It wasn’t performed before live TV or to an assembled media audience. It wasn’t a great rugby sevens winning try nor some valiant deed on a battlefield afar. Vilisi Nadaku from Namara had done it- the stuff of high human moral courage up there with the best. He had boldly approached the military guards strewn at the bottom floor of the Prime Minister's office building and demanded he deliver a letter to the man himself.
The soldiers queried the contents with suspicion but were taken by the man’s quiet but firm insistence on delivering it personally. They escorted Vilisi all the way up to the Prime Minister’s office where the soldier knocked, saluted, entered and delivered the letter.
Prior to his short but epic walk throug Suva from the other end of the city, Vilisi had knelt and prayed at Centenary Church for courage and success in his simple delivery mission. It was complete –the rest was up to the Lord. He had fasted with his family and now that the season of lent had begun he will sacrifice his job and his family’s welfare for what he believed in-Democracy. This simple delivery in time will mark the beginning of the restoration of democracy in Fiji post December 2006 coup.
According to Radio New Zealand International News of Sun 21st February 2010, a letter calling for elections to be held in Fiji this year has been submitted to the military-led regime in Suva. The petition was from Mr. Nadaku, his wife Ana and their five children, demanding Bainimarama and his Interim government returns Fiji to the polls this year, 2010.
Vilisi rose to fame with his lone protest demonstration of the SDL/Interim Regime court ruling in October of 2008. He was charged, convicted and fined an exorbitant amount for breeching the PER decree.
The petition is said to have the support of more than 600-thousand people, demanding a return to democracy before the 2014 date planned by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
One of those supporting the move, Suliasi Daunitutu, who is part of the Fiji Democracy Movement in Australia, says people in Fiji have endured a lot since the coup in 2006, and he says are now backing earlier elections.
He says people are afraid to express that openly, so it’s being done through various political parties who applaud and are in awe of this one man’s courage at the risk of imprisonment.
Mr Daunitutu says the leaders of the Fiji Labour, SDL and National Federation parties submitted a list of their members to be included in the document for their parties have been outlawed.
What Vilisi is petitioning for is his family’s right to elections as contained in Article 21 of the UDHR which states; “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
We as citizens of Fiji should all take pride that we have men like Vilisi amongst us. For in a society where emphasis continues to be placed on ethnicity and race we have lost track of the power of the Family. What Vilisi has done is reclaim our distinct “Fiji identity” as Family which our whole society is built on.
Ratu Joni Madrawiwi in a landmark speech “Evolving Identity” at the Rotary Club Suva, 5th October 2006, said, “We are one big Fiji Family. Families are important to us. We belong to one and are connected to many others. Families are how we identify each other. We try to find links. And then make judgements and assumptions accordingly. What family are you from? Who are you? Who are you related to”?
We as citizens of Fiji locally and globally are proud to be related to you Mr and Mrs Vilisi Nadaku and family. Vinaka Vaka levu,tagane me vakalou mana taki iko na tamada sa cecere.