Fiji's Family Network
THE Tui Vuda, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, and his people have accepted an apology from 1987 coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka for overthrowing the Government led by Dr Timoci Bavadra.
In a full traditional ceremony in the chiefly household of Vunisei in Viseisei Village on Wednesday, Ratu Josefa and village elders accepted the tabua presented by Mr Rabuka.
Taukei Sawaieke Ratu Tevita Momoedonu said Mr Rabuka went to the village of his own accord.
"He said that he did not have to rope in anybody because what he did back in 1987 was his sole decision," Ratu Tevita said.
He clarified Mr Rabuka did not go there to apologise for overthrowing the Dr Bavadra-led government, but to admit that what he did was wrong.
"It was up to us whether to pardon him," he said.
Ratu Tevita said that given that what had happened was done 23 years ago, the vanua o Vuda had forgiven Mr Rabuka.
"That is now water under the bridge, we must move on," Ratu Tevita said.
He said Ratu Josefa and some village elders were gripped by emotion with the gesture shown by Mr Rabuka.
"The Turaga na Tui Vuda thanked Mr Rabuka for coming down and humbling himself - for someone to admit he is wrong takes a lot of courage and humility," he said.
Also present at the ceremony was Dr Bavadra's younger brother and now the leader of the Tokatoka Werecakaca, Ratu Apisai Bavadra.