Gagaemauga No. 2 urges Parliament to reconsider Electoral Constituencies Bill

By Misiona Simo ,

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GAGAEMAUGA NO 2: The Saleaula Village Council appeared before the Parliamentary Committee at Tuanaimato yesterday.

GAGAEMAUGA NO 2: The Saleaula Village Council appeared before the Parliamentary Committee at Tuanaimato yesterday. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

The Electoral Constituency of Gagaemauga No. 2, consisting of Saleaula Savai’i and Saleaula Upolu, has strongly urged Parliament to reconsider the proposed changes in the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018.

The Constituency made their point known before a Parliamentary Committee hearing yesterday at Parliament’s makeshift home at Tuana’imato. 

The Parliamentary Committee is chaired by Falealupo M.P., Aeau Peniamina Leavaiseeta. The members include Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nafoitoa Keti Talaimanu, Pa’u Sefo Pau, Fuimaono Sam Te’o and Nonu Lose Niumata.

A delegation from the constituency was the first to front the Committee hearing yesterday.

Saleaula Savai’i and Saleaula Upolu, that make up the Electoral constituency, is one village. They were divided during the Mt. Matavanu volcano in 1905 when some of them sought refuge in Upolu where their descendants now call Salamumu home.

Historically though, despite the physical separation, they have had one Member of Parliament. That seat for the current Parliamentary sitting is occupied by Faaso’otauloa Pati Taulapapa, the Associate Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

But the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018 is threatening to change that so that voters in Saleaula Savai’i will vote as part of Gagaemauga 1 while Salamumu voters will vote as part of Safata 1.

Yesterday, Saleaula Savai’i and Upolu urged Parliament to reconsider its decision.

A written submission delivered by village Spokesperson, Fepulea’i Attila Ropati, called on Parliament to leave Gagaemauga No. 2 as it is, citing cultural and historical reference, logistics, number of voters as well as issues of fair representation.

The submission was accepted by the Parliamentary Committee who will report back to Parliament about the matter.

Gagaemauga No. 2 is one of the many villages and constituencies affected and are opposing the Bill.

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