It is with a deep sense of sorrow and personal loss that I received news of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s death .
His passing away, at the age of 84, signifies the end of an era for our nation. Ratu Mara had dominated Fiji’s political life for over five decades, steering Fiji through independence.
He is rightly regarded as the architect of the nation, the man who created its multiracial fabric. As Prime Minister Ratu Mara set a fine example of how a multiracial nation must be governed – with due regard to the cultural sensitivities of all the communities that make Fiji. He set a high standard of governance and demanded the very best from all those who served under him as ministers or civil servants.
He guided Fiji through some of the darkest days in its history, following both the crises of 1987 and 2000 as Prime Minister and later President. It is indeed tragic that a man who contributed so much to the development of his nation, should so unceremoniously be removed from office, in the last days of his public career.
Ratu Mara was a man of great vision, commitment and dignity who towered above his contemporaries both here and abroad. As a person, he would not hesitate to pursue his beliefs even to the point of being obstinate. He was quick tempered with those who tested his patience but he was a man of great compassion as well.
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was a rare combination of traditional Fijian aristocracy and the finest values of the Western tradition.
His passing away has left a very deep void which will be impossible to fill.
I convey my deepest condolences to Adi Lady Lala, to Ratu Finau, Adi Koila and Adi Ateca Ganilau and to other close members of the Mara family.
May his soul rest in peace.