Now that the election has been completed, village councils need to raise the issue of not using the term Pulenu’u in the village.
They should ban the use of the word or change the term to a more appropriate term to refer to the government employee who is stationed in the village and currently using the term pulenu’u.
Fact 1: He is a government employee, paid by the government.
Fact 2: He is not the pulenu’u (ruler of the village). The village ruler is the village council.
Fact 3: It is a direct conflict of interest for a government employee to have the final say on whether an election candidate has rendered a village monotaga or not, when it directly benefited the government. The case of Le Tagaloa confirmed this conflict of interest scenario. A lot of villages have and will suffer from the same thing during election time.
Fact 4: The court handling the case was ill prepared to handle these traditional disputes during election. As it involves cultural and village protocols and traditions, it must therefore be best handled by the Land and Titles Court.
For example, why was the finagalo of the village council not sought by the Court? Isn’t it a more logical legal step in determining village protocol? The court failed to see that a pulenu’u is a government employee and a direct conflict of interest in this case.
The intention of the legislation was to encourage service and cohesion in the village, and not cause division when a government paid employee (pulenu’u) used his position to benefit the government, in this case Liuga. From my limited perspective, there is an error of law in this case and the voting public and the court’s decision was directly influenced by a conflict of interest by the pulenu’u and the sitting M.P, Liuga. Le Tagaloa has a case.