The Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi, is a relieved man.
The Member of Parliament for Aana Alofi No. 1 West will serve out the rest of the Parliamentary term following a village meeting yesterday where a decision was reached to withdraw a petition against him.
Filed by former Member of Parliament, Aiono Tile Gafa, the petition accused Leaupepe of corrupt election practices, alleging that his agents committed bribery with the purpose of inducing voters.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who also holds the Aiono title. Speaking during the meeting, Aiono Tile expressed his frustrations and what led him to file the petition. He said he was more concerned about the future of the constituency because he found out that many names on the election roll do not belong there.
Aiono Tile said this is hugely disappointing and he felt that something has to be done for the sake of transparency and good governance.
“My concern is that the future of Fasito’o-uta will be determined by people who don’t belong here,” he said. “Although it was a difficult decision (to file a petition) but I wanted to correct this wrong.”
Nonetheless, Aiono Tile said he had accepted the advice from the village and that he would withdraw the petition yesterday.
He also wished Leaupepe all the best not only as the M.P but also as the Speaker of Parliament.
He urged him to lead with love and always think about what is best for the people of their constituency.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa praised Aiono Tile’s decision.
“Thank you Aiono,” he said, “you are a true hero.”
Tuilaepa said yesterday’s decision could only be achieved through the leadership of villages who are strong and united.
He thanked Aiono for having a kind heart to forgive and forget, and for stepping up to support the return of their Member of Parliament, who is now the Speaker of the House.
Tuilaepa also thanked the village mayor and village council.
“Today is the result of your work,” Tuilaepa said, referring to the mayor of Fasito’o-uta, Ape Leusogi and the village leaders.
During an interview with the Speaker of the House, Leaupepe said he was extremely grateful.
“I am very thankful that we have reached an agreement,” he said. “Aiono is a brother to me and we always do things together, in the village and in the church as well.”
One of the village chiefs, Su’a Iosefa, said the outcome of the meeting yesterday was only possible because of God.
Su’a said the differences between the two political candidates could have led to a split in the village because both men are well respected and are very influential in the decision making.
During the March General election, Aiono polled 446 votes while Leaupepe had 570 votes.
Aiono’s petition was one of six petitions before the Courts at Mulinu’u.
The hearing of the petitions are scheduled for this week.
The petitions involve:
• Maualaivao Pat Ah Him vs Faumuina Wayne Fong
• Ale Vena Ale vs Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner
• Palusalue Faapo II vs Leaana Ronnie Posini and Manualesagalala Enokati Posala
• Anae Misa Pita vs Taefu Lemi
• Lafaitele Patrick Leiataualesa vs Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau