Salega Chief calls for vote against Government

A chief of Salega East, Loli Tago Tui, has appealed to voters to reject the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) at the 2021 General Election.

He said the ruling party should be voted out of Government for passing the Land and Titles Court legislation which will reshape the judiciary and now threatens the rule of law in Samoa.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Loli said he was disappointed to hear that Parliament has approved the changes behind the Judicature Bill 2020, Lands and Titles Bill 2020, and the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 which were passed in Parliament on Tuesday. 

"This constituency (Salega East) rejected those bills and that was our submission to the committee when we met earlier this year," Loli said. "Our decision was not made up by one person. It was made in unity after discussions and explanations of the changes. 

“And we have already explained to the Committee why we do not accept the changes.

"But it's sad to see that parliament has approved the changes, even after a strong opposition not only from the villages around Samoa but also from some of the legal experts in the country."

Loli added: "If our top lawyers and judges, those who understand and study lawmaking in Samoa are against these pieces of legislation, an ordinary person should worry too. These changes are a threat to our fa'amatai system and way of life."

According to the chief, the inclusion and recognition of communal rights within Samoa's Constitution will stir up problems between the village and individual families in Samoa.

"This will enable the village to take away land belonging to a particular family if they decide to banish that family from the village.

"You must keep in mind that land is a family's treasure (measina) so losing land, is like losing a sense of belonging and identity. 

"There are so many reasons why we decided to reject those changes."

While Loli expressed his disappointment when he found out that the changes were passed in Parliament, he is still optimistic that a solution could be found. 

"We can still fix the issue at hand before it gets out of control," he added. 

The solution, according to Loli, is for everyone to vote out the ruling H.R.P.P. in the upcoming election.

"If you truly love your children, your culture, and your sense of identity, you should vote for change. 

“Don't vote for people with money and power, but make a change and let's save Samoa by voting out those who came up with these new laws. 

"We are a democratic country, and the power to create change and fix things rests in the hands of us, the voters. 

"We voted for those people (M.P.s) and we can vote them out and vote for people who care and love our people.

"That is the best way to destroy all the new laws we have now. If we take it to court, our taxpayers will pay for it, but we need to come together and vote them out."

Moreover, Loli believes that the amendments made by the ruling H.R.P.P. to Samoa's Constitution confirms that they belittle the hard work and sacrifice of Samoa’s forefathers. 

"They shaped and formed our constitution so that it is in line with our culture and way of life. "However, we've heard it from our leader, that they look down on the knowledge and work of our ancestors. Which is a disgrace."

Loli says he applauds the courage of the four Members who voted against the changes, including their M.P., Olo Fiti Va'ai. 

"They represented their constituency and the majority of Samoa with humility and courage. We salute them and wish them the best."

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