Chief Ravun Elected New Malvatumauri President

    A son of the Smol Nambas tribe in southeastern inland Malekula Island was elected this week as the new president of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs. He is Chief Paul Robert Ravun from the village of Melken and was elected unopposed by consensus.

    According to Vanuatu custom, there has never been an election of a chief before, as the people do not elect their leader at the ballot box.

    Consensus voting is required by the Vanuatu Electoral Act and this election was conducted by the Port Vila Electoral Office.

    Chief Ravun is the first Pikinini for Smol Nambas to hold this high office in Vanuatu's history.

    The newly elected President of Malvatumauri succeeds the outgoing President, Chief Willie Grey Plasua of Torba Province, who held the high office for five years.

    In his statement after the swearing-in and handover ceremony, President Paul Robert Ravun paid tribute to the former president and his council who led all Customs chiefs across the country for the past five years.

    He promised the chiefs that during his tenure, he would do everything possible to take Malvatumauri to a new level.

    He went on to emphasize that Vanuatu still has a lot of work to do to officially recognize the custom and make it work in parallel with the official government system since the constitution recognized custom and traditional values of this country.

    The new paramount chief of Vanuatu intention is to well establish custom governance through the nakamal in every villages, areas and island council of chiefs and help them to better serve their people.

    The governance of chiefs and custom authority is a significant issue addressed in the 19 resolutions of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, adopted in 2011 following a national summit in 2006. The aim is to establish appropriate custom authority positions, such as head chiefs, police chiefs, and custom authorities, according to the resolutions.

    To address these governance matters and reaffirm custom governance’s identity, the President of Malvatumauri has already launched the governance initiative from 2016 to 2019, leading to the restoration of what was previously diminished throughout the islands of Vanuatu.

    These initiatives will be acknowledged and supported by Vanuatu’s formal Government, which will act accordingly for the benefit of the country as a sovereign and free nation.

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