Banished Associate Minister still allowed in village

The Associate Minister of Public Enterprises, Tuifa’asisina Misa Lisati, is still allowed to visit Vailoa Palauli and stay at his house despite being banned from the Village Council for taking his brother to Court.

This was confirmed by a matai from Vailoa Palauli, Autagavaia Uiese, during an interview with the Samoa Observer on Saturday. 

Tuifa'asisina took his younger brother, Aiolupotea Toni Palemene, to Court, questioning his eligibility as a candidate for the upcoming General Election. Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition by Tuifa'asisina. 

According to Autagavaia, the village had sought advice from a senior registrar at Tuasivi last week as to the status of the banishment the village had handed out to the Associate Minister.

"We (elders of Vailoa) went to Tuasivi on Friday," Autagavaia told the Samoa Observer. "We wanted to discuss the matter you are questioning and seek legal advice on what we should do to sort out this issue."

The reputation of the village was the village's main concern, said Autagavaia. 

"As you may have been aware, these things are very sensitive matters. And what we are most worried about is the good name of the village and the unity of our village. We (the elders) saw that the issue was dividing our village, which was not a good thing.

"Therefore, our decision to banish Tuifa'asisina from the village of Vailoa remains. Because he did not accept our request for him not to take this matter to court. 

"We cannot change what has been done. However, according to the explanation from the Registrar, therefore, Tuifa'asisina is still allowed to come to the village and stay at their house. 

"It's just that he is no longer allowed to sit in during village meetings and he no longer serve as a matai of the village."

Autagavaia admits that he was disappointed to see how things unfolded between the two brothers. 

"We did our job by advising them to sort their differences out and see who should run so the other can stay. There is always another time. 

"However, it seems like both of them did not accept our request and advice."

Autagavaia added that the village has agreed to allow both Tuifa'asisina and Aiolupotea to contest the election.

"As I said before, we cannot change what has happened. All we need to do now is to look and move forward. 

"We have decided that we will give them both the opportunity to run. Whoever is going to win, that will be our tofi (representative) for the next Parliamentary term. 

"But we pray that God will choose the right leader for us. We also pray that our village will not be divided because of this matter. 

"The other concern is, there are other candidates from the other sub-villages of Vailoa. If this is how it is with our two candidates, a candidate from Fa'ala might win in the upcoming election."

On the other hand, Autagavaia paid homage to Tuifa'asisina's service and contribution to the constituency.

"You must know that Tuifa'asisina has been working hard in the past five years," Autagavaia told the Samoa Observer.

"If you look at our new school building that was opened recently, it was all because of Tuifa'asisina. He kept knocking and find ways to build a new school building for our children. 

"When he was first elected, he promised that he would focus on education as it is very important. And he delivered that promise."

Autagavaia also acknowledged Tuifa'asisina's contribution to upgrade the Satupa'itea district hospital. 

"The hospital is in great condition now and people from our side are enjoying it. 

"But that's a result of the hard work done by Lautafi Purcell and Tuifa'asisina. Tuifa'asisina also helped a lot of youths and families in our village."

Tuifa’asisina's second petition against Mata’afa Fa’avae, another candidate was also dismissed by the Court. 

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