Village petitions Parliament

Parliament has been petitioned to consider the “far-reaching adverse consequences” of the Government’s Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018.

The call is made in a petition lodged by Ali’i ma Faipule of Saleaula and Salamumu tabled in Parliament yesterday. 

The petition, tabled by Member of Parliament, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tuuau, targets the plan by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s administration to divide the territorial constituency of Gagaemauga No. 2, comprising of Saleaula in Savai’i and Salamumu in Upolu.

Gagaemauga No. 2 is among a handful of constituencies affected by the Bill, which seeks the removal of urban seats and the re-defining of electoral boundaries, based on geographical location. 

 “This petition is signed by ten chiefs from the village,” Ali’imalemanu said in tabling the Bill.

A copy of the petition calls on Parliament for the territorial constituency of Gagaemauga No. 2 to be maintained as an electoral constituency.

“The village of Saleaula and Salamumu are one and the same traditionally, and maintained close relationships because of families and the cultural honorifics and arrangement of sub-villages of Vaituutuu, Salapulou, Faletolu and Leano despite Salamumu being located in Upolu and Saleaula in Savai’i,” the petition reads."

“The village of Saleaula and Salamumu is one of the six Pule (authorities) of Salafai. The proposed splitting of Saleaula and Salamumu has far-reaching adverse consequences for the people and future generations of Saleaula and Salamumu, as opposed to maintaining the Gagaemauga No. 2 Territorial Constituency as an Electoral Constituency.”

The petition also points out that there are some territorial constituencies that have been maintained as Electoral Constituencies in the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018 that have far less number of voters than Gagaemauga No. 2.

“That if the number of voters are the determine factor in confirming an Electoral Constituency, then the number of voters for each proposed Electoral Constituency in the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018 should be confirmed first, as per the Electoral Bill 2018 requirement for voters to vote in the Electoral Constituency they reside in.”

Speaker of Parliament, Tole’afoa Leaupepe Fa’afisi, accepted the petition and motioned for Parliament’s approval for the petition to be tabled. 

The petition followed the constituency’s appearance before the Parliamentary Committee tasked to review the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018. 

Saleaula Savai’i and Saleaula Upolu, that make up the Electoral constituency, is one village despite their separation.

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.

 

Here is the full petition printed verbatim: 

TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF SAMOA

The Humble Petition of Alii and Faipule of the village of Saleaula.

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SHEWETH:

• That the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018 referred by the Legislative Assembly to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petition & Constitutional Offices Committee to consider, proposes to divide the territorial constituency of Gagaemauga Nu. 2 comprising of the villages of Saleaula and Salamumu.

 

• That the village of Saleaula and Salamumu are one and the same traditionally, and maintained close relationships because of families and the cultural honorifics and arrangement of sub-villages of Vaituutuu, Salapulou, Faletolu and Leano despite Salamumu being located in Upolu and Saleaula in Savaii

 

• That the village of Saleaula and Salamumu is one of the 6 Pule of Salafai. The proposed splitting of Saleaula and Salamumu had far-reaching adverse consequences for the people and future generations of Saleaula and Salamumu, as opposed to maintaining the Gagaemauga Nu.2 Territorial Constituency as an Electoral Constituency.

 

• That there are some Territorial Constituencies that have been maintained as Electoral Constituencies in the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018 that have far less number of voters than the Territorial Constituency of Gagaemauga Nu.2.

 

• That the Electoral Bill 2018 also referred by the Legislative Assembly to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petition & Constitutional Offices Committee to consider, proposes to make compulsory people voting in the constituency they reside in, except for a matai residing in another constituency.

 

• That the current electoral roll does not indicate an accurate number of voters per Electoral Constituency according to the residence requirement. This can only be determined after the closing of registration of the 2021 General Election roll.

 

• That if the number of voters are the determine factor in confirming an Electoral Constituency, then the number of voters for each proposed Electoral Constituency in the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018 should be confirmed first, as per the Electoral Bill 2018 requirement for voters to vote in the Electoral Constituency they reside in.

 

Wherefore the Petitioner prays that:

• The territorial constituency of Gagaemauga Nu. 2 be maintained as an electoral constituency in the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018, and alternatively

 

• That the Electoral Constituency Bill 2018 be deferred for the 2026 National Election, and to monitor the electoral roll for the 2021 General Election which should confirm the number of voters as per the residence requirement, to determine electoral constituencies for 2026.

 

ALI’I AND FAIPULE OF SALEAULA

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