Fiti Kelese Appointed to Banaba’s Presidency
The City of Jerusalem’s Noble Houses have confirmed their support for the appointment of the Banaban elder Fiti Kelese to the highest office on the Banaba Island.
Endorsed by a decree from the Lord Zabid in late December, the Banaban Community Presidium was a move towards greater autonomy for the small native population on the phosphate-rich island. The Presidium is viewed by many Banabans as a proto-state to represent them and their growing diaspora.
The Rabi Council of Leaders and Elders, a municipal body once formed to represent the displaced Banaban community in Fiji, is subject to numerous scandals and has been placed under the administration of the Fijian government since 2013.
Similarly, the growing influence of China in the region have led to the Banaban representatives in Kiribati’s parliament losing their de facto independence and allegations citing the CCP’s desire to have a greater military presence in the Pacific.
While the Banabans continue to advocate for their self-determination in the international community, the legacy of Fiti Kelese will be seen by his approach towards Chinese ambitions and the role of his continued alliance with the young Yemeni royal and jurist Adib Murshed (styled as Lord Zabid) from the descendants of the aristocratic era of the British Raj in Bangladesh.