Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has dismissed claims he took legal action against his Lepa opponent because he was scared.
Tuilaepa was successful in his eligibility challenge against Tu’ula Kiliri, whose candidacy has since been declared void by the Supreme Court.
Speaking to the media, Tuilaepa said he did not intend to take Tu’ula to the Court.
He maintained the only reason why he did was because the chiefs of Saleapaga came to him.
“On Thursday night when the nomination closed, I was told about this,” Tuilaepa recalled.
“I thought about it deeply and decided that I’ll let it be because I feel for him. That was my decision. I had no burden weighing on me and I went to sleep happy.”
The next day, Tuilaepa said he had visitors.
“I was surprised when the elders from Saleapaga came,” he said.
“The first thing that came to mind were the words of apostle Paul in the book of Romans which says that all authorities are from above and every commandment is from God.”
Tuilaepa said he met with the delegation from Saleapaga and he agreed to what they wanted, which was to set Tu’ula straight.
Tuilepa said he was worried that if he didn't do the right thing, he would be perceived as someone who ignores the concerns of the elders from his constituency.
“All these things rushed into my mind when the elders came to me. Under the legislation, no one is allowed to submit a challenge to correct this wrong unless you are the M.P.
“So that is the reason why I thought to myself, these elderly men are here so that the right thing can be done but it has to be done through me.”
That’s when the decision was made to lodge an eligibility challenge against Tu’ula.
Tuilaepa reiterated that as an M.P., he listens to his constituency. He referred to Faleata West M.P., Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, who did the same thing when he switched parties.
Tuilaepa said that is the difference between the H.R.P.P and the Tautua Samoa Party.
The criticised the Opposition leader, saying Palusalue does his own thing. He said Palusalue’s attitude has rubbed off all his party members.
Tuilaepa also referred to an article titled “Tautua to remove monotaga” published in the Samoa Observer last week.
“Under it – it has a photo of Palu and Aeau the leaders of Tautua,” he said.
“This means that their views are shared amongst their other colleagues like Aveau, Papali’i, Toesulusulu and Lefau.
“The legislation was agreed upon by all of us M.Ps but it appears that the M.Ps are the very people that want to break the law.
“What’s shocking to me is that Tautua will move to remove monotaga, something that is essential for a matai to provide to his village.
Tuilaepa reminded that the monotaga is at the heart of fa’asamoa.
“Once its destroyed the matai will do whatever they want,” he said.
“They will be living like animals. The faamatai will no longer have any integrity because people can do whatever they want.”
“I am shocked that they are trying to destroy the heart of the fa’amatai (matai system) that serves the Ali’i ma Faipule of any village…this is where that proverb applies that you wanted the fish so bad that you didn’t care about fishing net.”