Church not a 'cult'

Fiji Daily Post/February 26, 2009

A prominent member of the One World Church in Cunningham, Suva rubbished media reports labelling his religious group a "cult".

Naitasiri chief Ratu Loco Kalokalodrau Qiolevu yesterday said they were "healers not killers".

This week a newspaper had highlighted that Sivocosi Semanakadavu, 17, allegedly died while under the care of Ratu Loco’s church group.

The newspaper also labelled his church group as a "cult".

Ratu Loco said people should respect his religion because he gave his land to people from different races and religions to use.

"I’ve allowed everyone to live on my land and I’m not a killer. I’m a healer," he said.

Referring to himself as the number one, "the boss of the church", Ratu Loco made it clear to the media that no one was to talk to anyone within the church without consulting him first.

When asked on whether he or members of his church have been in contact with the parents of the dead teenager he said: "The parents brought the boy to this church and they applied everything."

"We prayed for this kid and the parents know that we are not a hospital. The hospital was right there, but they brought the kid to us on their own free will," Ratu Loco said.

"We never asked them to bring their son here, but we gave all our best and spent our money on the boy."

He added that his sect healed all sorts of sickness through prayer. "Our main medicine is prayer," he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Methodist Church pastor, Reverend Viliame Daunabuna, in a radio interview said people should be aware of the kinds of teaching and healing organised by some church denominations.

Rev Daunabuna said there were two forms of healings which people should be careful of when dealing with some church groups.

He urged people to go to the hospital if they are sick. He alleged that four people from his community in Colo-i-Suva were told by the same church group not to go to hospital, but drink coconut oil prepared by the church healer and spiritual guru known as the Marama Vada.

The Marama Vada, when asked why they never took the teenager to hospital said they believed divine intervention would be the best cure.

Ratu Loco, who is also a claimant of the Qaranivalu title, said they were not doing anything wrong.

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