Woman candidate claims P.M. has agreed to debate showdown

Two contradictory responses have emerged over the challenge from an aspiring female Member of Parliament against Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, for a televised debate over the L.T.C. bills.

Whereas the leader of the Sovereign Independent Samoa Party (S.I.S.), Fesola'i Logo Toloa, says the Prime Minister has accepted the challenge, the Prime Minister's Press Secretariat, Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga, said he has not received any information or whether a debate will take place. 

"Check with TV3 to confirm," Nanai said.

TV3’s Co-Owner, Corey Keil, was also unable to confirm whether a debate between Fesola'i and the Prime Minister had been scheduled.

The S.I.S.’ leader laid down the gauntlet in a letter written earlier this month after the Prime Minister on television said he would readily debate any opponents of bills before Parliament to overhaul the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.). 

Fesola'i, who is the sole candidate for her party in next year’s election, said the Prime Minister has agreed to debate her on 18 November. 

The S.I.S.’ leader said the debate will be aired on TV3 television and based exclusively on the three Land and Title bills which are currently at their second reading stage of Parliament.

Fesola'i said Tuilaepa agreed to the debate during a personal meeting after receiving her letter.

Earlier in October, Fesola'i released a letter she had written to the Prime Minister who had sought public debate challengers. 

“I am willing to rise up to the challenge and prove to you and all Samoans who have been deceived by these three proposed bills,” she wrote in the letter. 

Fesola’i claimed the Judicature Bill 2020, Lands and Titles Bill 2020 and the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, are “repugnant” and “in breach” of the constitution. 

Fesola’i alleges the L.T.C. bills will alienate customary land and negatively impact the fa’amatai (chiefly) system.

She calls the amendments to the Constitution and the Judicature Bill “discriminatory in nature and in breach of Article 15 of the Constitution.”

“When I have proven to you and Samoa beyond all doubt that you and your Cabinet have erred, then, firstly, you shall respectfully and willingly shelve the three proposed the three bills,” the letter to Tuilaepa says.

The S.I.S. was officially launched in September. 

Speaking during the launch, Fesola'i said the party’s name is a commemoration of what Samoa's ancestors fought for: "sovereignty and independence as achieved in 1962.”


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