Saleaula backs Member of Parliament's plea

An impassioned plea made by Member of Parliament, Fa'aso'otauloa Pati Taulapapa, last week has won the backing of the village of Saleaula in Savai'i. 

The Senior M.P last week asked the Government to reconsider the division of electoral boundaries which has led to the territorial constituency of Gagaemauga No. 2 divided.

Alofipo Peteli II, a senior matai of the village of Saleaula, told the Samoa Observer that Fa'aso'o had presented the village and the constituency's views precisely. 

"That is exactly what we want to happen," Alofipo told Samoa Observer. 

"For things to go back the way they used to be. We want our seat back in the upcoming election."

Despite the local praise for his actions, Alofipo said it may be too late for anything to change. 

"We applaud his courage, that is exactly what he is supposed to do. To voice what the constituents want in Parliament,” Alofipo said. 

"So it was great to hear and see him (Fa'aso'o) do what he did. However, we are not expecting the plea to be accepted right away. 

"It's going to take some time and it's a little too late to try and turn things back the way they used to because it has been passed and next year is the election. 

"So in my opinion, it will be hard to change things now. But we do appreciate Fa'aso'o standing up for us."

Alofipo believes that the only way that changes could be overturned would be if another political party besides the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) were at the helm of Government.  

"That is the only way I can think of, for now. We should change the Government,” he said. 

"As for us (Saleaula), we will look for a great candidate, someone who will represent us well and be our voice in Parliament, even if they do not join the H.R.P.P. but go in as an Independent Member. 

"We can only hope for the best for the future."

The topic being mentioned again in Parliament last week did not sit well with the people of Saleaula, said Alofipo. 

"It is not nice because we have visited the Prime Minister twice, asking them to reconsider their decision. But then we were told that it has been passed and now under the Constitution. 

"So we did not want to talk about it anymore, but [we have been] praying to God to answer our prayers. 

"So it was not easy listening to the debate in Parliament. However, we are optimistic. Fa'aso'os humble plea may be too late now, but God willing, that one day in the future, things will go back."

Alofipo said the division of political boundaries is a threat to Puleono:

"Saleaula is one of the Pule (defining parts), in Salafai. But it seems like they do not care about that anymore or they are belittling the Pule in Salafai.

"That's all I can say for now on the issue. Maybe after the whole village meets, we will have more to say."

The change moved by the Electoral Office became law last year. 

It has caused Gagaemauga No. 2, which consists of Saleaula in Savaii and Salamumu in Upolu, divided, which locals say has severed the village's traditional ties in terms of cultural honorifics.   

In the 2021 General Election, Salamumu villagers will vote in the Safata 1 seat with Saanapu, Sataoa and Lotofaga. Voters in Saleaula will have to vote for Gagaemauga No. 1 with Patamea, Samalaeulu and Mauga. 

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