The Minister of Women, Community and Social Development Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, disagrees with Commissioner Egon Keil’s views about the “fa’a-matai system” in Samoa.
Commissioner Fuiavailili said the fa’a-matai system in Samoa is the same as the military system and how it is operated. He said that running the Ministry of Police like a ‘military unit is no different from the “matai system” when a matai makes a decision there will be no questions asked.
“He should apologize for what he said,“ said Tolofuaivalelei.
The issue was raised after a letter published two weeks ago on the Sunday Samoan from several police officers who accused the Commissioner of running the Ministry like a “Military”.
The letter was addressed to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and copied to other Cabinet ministers, the Ombudsman, the Police Commissioner and Samoa Observer.
Asked for a comment, the Commissioner said every police unit around the world is operated as a military.
He explained that the uniform police wear, is military styled, including the hat.
They also have a ranking system and a chain of command.
But Tolofua disagrees with the reference to the matai system.
“There are guidelines that govern the matai system under the Village Council or Ali’i ma Faipule,” said Tolofuaivalelei.
Tolofua said the reference by the Commissioner was inappropriate because the culture does not treat Samoans like soldiers.
Besides, he pointed out that true matai system is about dialogue and mutual respect.
It means that decisions are discussed and agreed to by villages.
He said the Samoan tradition and culture does not allow this kind of system (military system).
[“E le tu’ufaua foi fa’aiuga a matai ae fetu’unai ma soalaupule lelei, ona fa’ato’a faia ai lea o se fa’aiuga ma e sosolo lava I luga o alafua o tu ma aga faa-Samoa,”]
He said if this kind of system is allowed in Samoa then there will be sorrow.
Tolofuaivalelei said the Commissioner should not mix up the Matai system and the military system because we find the truth.
[“Ia saili le amiotonu I faaiuga faavaea ae aua le tosoina atu pulega faa-matai I totonu,”]
Tolofua said what the Commissioner said was “too harsh” and he should apologise.
He also asked that the Commissioner takes back what he said because it is insulting for the people of Samoa.
It was not possible to get a comment from Fuiava Keil yesterday.