Village yet to discuss brotherly dispute

The village of Vailoa, Palauli, has yet to convene a meeting to discuss a dispute between their incumbent Member of Parliament, Tuifa'asisina Misa Lisati, and his brother, Aiolupotea Toni Leleisiuao, in relation to the election.   

Tuifa'asisina, who is also the Associate Minister for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, is taking his brother ti Court to challenge his eligibility to stand as a candidate. Both had their nominations as candidates approved by the Electoral Commissioner for the Palauli III seat. 

A high chief from the village of Vailoa Palauli, Mata'afa Tu'uuta, declined to comment on the issue when the Samoa Observer approached him. 

"The matter is quite sensitive and if it's heading to court, then I can't say anything but to wait for the outcome,” he said. 

"I cannot speak on behalf of the village of Vailoa because we have yet to meet and discuss the issue. I apologise but that is all I can say for now."

Mata'afa then asked the newspaper to seek the views of other high chiefs from the village, Autagavaia Uiese and Toluono Penehuro.

Toluono Penehuro did not mince words when his opinion was sought.

"If I make a comment, it will be my own opinion,” he said.  "I can't say that it's from the village or constituency because we have not met.

"But the truth is, when we first heard that M.P. Tuifaasisina is taking the two candidates to Court, it did not sound right to us. 

"It's not a nice thing to hear because it shows that we are divided." 

Toluono said the village has asked Tuifa'asina to withdraw the petitions he filed against his brother, Aiolupotea, and another election candidate for Palauli III, Mata'afa Fonofa'avae. 

"The matter can be solved by discussing it and talking it out the usual Samoan way," he said.  "So taking it to court is not necessary."

Toluono said that they have given Aiolupotea their full support and have asked Tuifa'asisina to step up and let his brother contest the seat:

"We will wait and see what the outcome will be." 

Autagavaia was not available for comment. 

It was not possible to get a comment from Tuifa'asisina. 

The petitions list from the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration confirmed the dispute with the Associate Minister being listed as the Applicant while his brother Aiolupotea and the Electoral Commissioner are listed as respondents.

The two petitions from the Associate Minister make up a total of 20 petitions relating to candidate eligibility for the April 2021 general election which came before the Supreme Court for mention on Monday. 



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