“I’m still waiting on God” for new Chief Justice, says P.M.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says he has yet to hear a “secret whisper” from God about who will become the new Chief Justice.

He has also downplayed suggestions that Samoa could welcome her first female Chief Justice.

Tuilaepa made the comments during his weekly programme with TV1 where he was asked about who is likely to replace outgoing Chief Justice, his Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, whose appointment ends today.

A special sitting is being held in Supreme Court to end the reign of one of Samoa’s longest serving Chief Justices. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa paid tribute to Patu’s work.

“I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Patu for his service over many years. It is not an easy role,” the Prime Minister said.

Tuilaepa highlighted the challenging nature of Judiciary work, saying it’s impossible to please everyone. He said in any court case, the winning party is always full of praise for the Judge while it is natural that the losing party is critical.

But these are the challenges, Tuilaepa said, Chief Justice Patu has had to navigate and his professionalism, dedication and commitment is commended.

He used the Samoan term “malolo manumalo” (retiring as a winner) to describe Patu’s exit from the bench.

As for his replacement, Tuilaepa said he has been praying about it.

“We have to remember that when it comes to things like this, there’s only one place where the secret whisper comes from and that is from God,” he said. 

“As we are speaking, I’m still waiting, I still haven’t had a prompting. Maybe God is not ready to tell me who the replacement will be.”

Given the nature of the job, the Prime Minister said it’s very important that the best person for the job is chosen. 

Asked about rumours that Samoa could have her first female Chief Justice, Tuilaepa said: “Let me ask God, in case I say something that could encourage such thinking. But as of now, no I haven’t had a prompting from our Heavenly father (about who will be the next Chief Justice).”

Tuilaepa did not say when the new Chief Justice would be announced.

But sources within the Judiciary say the front-runners for the role in terms of seniority and experience are Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Mata Tuatagaloa.


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