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He was awarded Fiji’s highest honour, Companion of the Order of Fiji (CF) for his leadership role as Prime Minister of Fiji between 1992 and 1999.
Rabuka is a keen sportsman having represented his country in Rugby (1970 – 1977) as a Prop, and Athletics in Decathlon (South Pacific Games 1971 and Commonwealth Games 1974). He plays golf on a single-figure handicap.
As a committed Christian soldier, Rabuka offers Fiji a model of servant- leadership for the benefit of all the people of Fiji.
Since assuming his party leader’s position in 2016, Rabuka now stands with his chiefly SODELPA colleagues, the Opposition Leader, Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa, na Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, and Party President, Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Turaga Bale na Tui Cakau, to take Fiji forward for all classes, races, ethnicities, minorities and cultures.
"Leadership that Listens"
Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka CF, OBE, O St J, MSD, Legion D’Honneur (FR), Order of Tahiti Nui is the Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji (SODELPA).
Rabuka is a former Prime Minister of Fiji (1992-1999); former Opposition Leader (1999); the first Chairman of the Bose Levu Vakaturaga or Great Council of Chiefs (1999-2001); former Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and was Commonwealth Peace Envoy 2000-2002, to the Solomon Islands.
He was Prime Minister of Fiji from 1992 to 1999. During his term as Prime Minister, he took a personal leading role in the review and promulgation of Fiji’s Constitution which was acclaimed widely as the Blueprint for multi-cultural nations in this era of ethnic unrest around the world, and which enabled Fiji to be readmitted into the Commonwealth after its ousting in 1987 following two military Coup d’etat led by then Colonel Rabuka.
He was elected as the first Independent Chairman of Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs, the main source of advice on culture and traditions and Fijian land matters to the government of Fiji, after relinguishing the Prime Ministership in 1999. He was also engaged by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth to be the Commonwealth Special Envoy for Peace following the outbreak of racial violence in the Solomon Islands in 1999.
General Rabuka retired as Commander of the Fiji Military Forces in 1991 and became a Co-Deputy Prime Minister in the Interim Government of Fiji before standing for election and winning to become Fiji’s first Republican Government Prime Minister in 1992.
During his military career between 1968 and 1991, he commanded two Infantry Battalions on Peace Keeping duties in Lebanon (1980-1981) and Sinai Dessert, Egypt (1983-1985). For outstanding leadership in Lebanon, Rabuka was awarded the OBE (Military Division) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 1981. He was awarded the French Legion D’Honneur for bravery by the French Government for saving a French officer during an attack on the UN Headquarters in Lebanon in 1980.
He is a graduate of the Indian Defence Services Staff College and the Australian Joint Services Staff College in Canberra, Australia. He received the Master of Science (Defence Studies) from the University of Madras in 1979, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Central Queensland University for his leading role in the formulation of Fiji’s Constitution in 1998.