Three villages stand by La'auli ahead of by-election
Three of the four villages comprising the Gagaifomauga No. 3 electorate are confident about a by-election later this month and that former Member of Parliament, La'aulialemailetoa Leuatea Schmidt, will be comfortably returned to Parliament.
Speaking on behalf of the faletolu, which consists of Fagae'e, Sasina and Letui, paramount chief, Seve Avaula, said they are surprised that the village of Aopo has fielded a candidate to run against La'auli but he maintains that the three villages are in full support of their veteran politician.
The by-election is set for 28 August 2020.
The fourth village in the constituency, Aopo, last week nominated an independent candidate, Fa'aulusau Simi Laulua.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer on Tuesday, Seve said their constituency is "more than ready" for the by-election.
"As we told you before, we are well-prepared for the by-election," Seve said.
"Our candidate has been through a lot and we have been there for him through all the hardships he went through. Even before we discovered that there is also another candidate, we were ready to push through with the by-election because it was the right thing to do given that La'auli has formed up a new political party of his own.
"It was what we (Faletolu) wanted him (La'auli) to do."
Seve expressed their gratitude towards their former M.P. for following the constituency's wishes.
La'auli's seat was declared vacant last month following his verbal resignation from Parliament in the last Parliament sitting.
The constituency had asked La'auli not to tender a written resignation letter to the Speaker of Parliament and instead establish a new political party.
La'auli followed their wishes and his new political party was registered on 30 July under the name, Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.).
"We thank La'auli for following our wishes and we appreciate all his efforts and for standing up for what is right and what's best for our constituency,” Seve said.
"He does make a decision on his own; he always informs us and seeks our opinion first and foremost. That, in our own opinion, is a true servant.
"He is not there for himself, but for the people that voted him in."
Seve reiterated that their support for La'auli derives from those attributes as their tofi (representative).
As for Aopo's candidate, Seve believes it is a "waste of time" to have a candidate run against La'auli in the by-election.
Attempts to contact a spokesman from the Aopo village on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
"Over the years, this has always been the case for this village, Aopo. They know that the candidates they nominate could never win against our candidate, yet they still force a candidate to run,” Seve said.
"I'm sure they know that their candidate could never win, but they still nominated a candidate for the by-election,” Seve said.
"Letui is the smallest village out of the Faletolu, but the voters from Letui will surely be more than those of Aopo."
Therefore, Seve said they are unbothered by the candidate nominated by the village of Aopo.
"It's his (Fa'aulusau) right to run," said Seve.
"We welcome the challenge, although we know someone forced him to contest. However, it's a waste of time for him to run as La'auli will definitely return as the official tofi (representative) for this constituency."
Lastly, Seve said they will leave everything to God.
"He will decide and He knows what is best for this constituency.
"We look forward to the by-election and we humble ourselves and leave everything to God.
"I think after everything that this constituency has been through so far, we remain positive that the Lord has greater plans for us and better things await us in the future."
Fa'aulusau Rosa Stowers is also a representative from the constituency, but she was chosen to represent the seat not for receiving the largest mandate but because of reforms requiring an increase in the number of women Members of Parliament to five.