A first for not only for Fiji and its disciplined forces, but a major achievement for women, a senior Woman Inspector has been appointed to represent Fiji in a new United Nations Mission area.
Woman Inspector Rusila Cakacaka who currently holds the Inspector of Police/ Administration post at the Lautoka Police Station has been chosen as the first Fijian to be deployed for peacekeeping mission duties under the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was established through a United Nations Security Council Resolution 1990 of June 27, 2011 whereby it authorized the deployment of a peacekeeping force to the disputed Abyei Area, which straddles Northern and Southern Sudan and has been claimed by both sides.
On December 14, 2012, the Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 2014 extending the UN presence and expanding UNISFA’s mandate to include monitoring along the entire border between North and South Sudan in line with the initial withdrawal agreement.
And marking the historical moment for the institution and the nation in being the first Fijian UN peacekeeping footprints in a new mission area, W/IP Cakacaka said she was honoured to have been chosen to mark the major achievement.
“I am glad that the UN has recognized the contribution of women in policing in mission areas and am honoured and privileged to have the Commissioner’s approval in representing not only the Fiji Police Force but the country as a whole in a new mission area”.
Originally from Nakama Village in Labasa with maternal links to Korowiri, W/IP Cakacaka’s selection to represent Fiji under the UNISFA banner will mean the mother of two will have two mission tours under her belt.
“In 2010 I was the lone female officer deployed to UNAMID in Darfur with fourteen male officers, so being in a male dominated field is nothing new to me, but more of a personal challenge because I get to show that gender should not be an obstacle in one realising their goals and dreams”.
W/IP Cakacaka is married to the Acting Officer in Charge of the Western Division Police Command Center Inspector (IP) Joape Cakacaka and says knowing that her children are grown and have lives of their own somewhat lessens the pain of being away from her family.
“My daughter is now residing in New Zealand while my son is a chef on Mana Island ,so it’ll be up to my husband to keep things in order at home, but with the demands of policing, we both know that time will pass by quickly and before we know it, the one year period will be over and I’ll be back home”.
The Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho who had recently returned from a trip overseas made it a priority to farewell W/IP Cakacaka noting the significance of her selection.
“You are going to the lone Fijian UN officer in that mission, so you will carry first and foremost your own individual flag, the flag for your family, mataqali, yavusa and yasana, and also for the Fiji Police Force and for Fiji”.
“As a United Nations representative, you are also a global Ambassador and that carries a lot of weight for us as a nation because any negative or positive issues will be communicated through New York and back to us here”.
The head of the Fiji Police also challenged the senior Woman Inspector to pursue greatness in light of the opportunities that are opening up for women officers.
“That’s the beauty of things, the UN is giving a lot of emphasis of women participation and if you go there and excel it will open up the doorways for other women officers here”.
“I have always told women officers that I want to see the next Unaisi Vuniwaqa, she has set the standards for all of us and especially for you women officers, and if doors open up for you with the UN know that you will have my support”.
W/IP Cakacaka spent majority of her childhood in Fiji’s friendly North having attended Holy Family Primary as well as All Saints Secondary and completed her secondary school education in Suva at Dudley High School, before choosing a life of service as a young member of the Fiji Police Force.
With a career spanning three decades, the soft-spoken officer says life of a police officer has been challenging but rewarding.
As she prepares to fly out on Monday morning to open a new chapter of Fiji’s proud United Nations Mission Service history books, she hopes her achievements will inspire young girls and her fellow women officers.
“Nothing is impossible, set your priorities right and you’ll realise that nothing is impossible, especially in the Fiji Police Force”.
W/IP Cakacaka will fly out of the country next Monday with the 17 officers bound for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)