Amaile village decries Electoral Act changes

Amaile village has criticised the recently enacted Electoral Act 2020, saying its removal of church contributions as a crucial part of monotaga will put them at a disadvantage.

The village mayor, Tupuivao Posini Tauiliili, told Samoa Observer in an interview that they are now in a helpless position following Parliament’s passing of the legislation that dropped church contributions from the monotaga.

“There is not much village monotaga in our own village doing. It is mostly your church monotaga that is counted as your village monotaga,” he said. “So without church monotaga, there will be no monotaga at all if that’s what’s going to happen.”

Tupuivao said after the village council meeting last week, all the matais and the residents disagreed with the changes that the Electoral Act 2020 now represents.

He said their definition of a matai means nothing without the involvement of the church, especially through the monotaga.

“We call ourselves useless matais if we do not have monotagas in the churches and that’s how it’s always been in this village,” he added. “I know a lot of villages with the similar village protocols would understand our village and how we feel about this.”

When asked what is the village’s next step, the mayor said they are now appealing to the leaders to reconsider the law.

Tupuivao said they are paying the price for being a far flung community, as finding transport to travel to Apia to get an update on developments within the Government is becoming very difficult.

“We wanted to at least have a better understanding of not only the updates of the monotaga but also the L.T.C. but we were stranded in our own village because of the lack of transportation,” he said.

Currently, Amaile village does not have a bus of its own and the recent state of emergency (S.O.E.) lockdown made it very difficult for the villagers to find public transport to go to town, according to Tupuivao.

“By the time the buses get here, it’s already full and even the taxis so it’s been hard to get updates, especially because we lack the accessibility to the tv and radio,” he said.

The woman mayor of Amaile, Gasologa Falanaipupu Iere, echoed similar sentiments and supported Tupuivao. 

“We are founded on God and everything has to be before God and the church and it’s like it’s taking the roles of our churches from us,” she added.

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