Make amends and accept election results: Savai'i chiefs

Savai'i chiefs have appealed to the leaders of Samoa's two major political parties to make amends and respect the results of last month's general election.

This was the sentiment expressed by a few high chiefs of Savai'i when their opinions were sought on the current constitutional crisis in the country. 

While the matai said the constitutional crisis is not affecting their daily lives in Savai'i, as most of the developments are centred in the capital Apia, they are watching impatiently from Savai'i while praying and hoping for a solution. 

"It's hard to ignore what's happening in the country," Seumanufagai Aiano of Vaito'omuli Savai'i told the Samoa Observer. 

"For those of us who did not study law and have a little understanding of the processes in place for our government and leaders to follow, all we can do is watch from afar and hope for the best. 

"We don't know what's going to happen next and when we will have an actual government.

"We have never experienced something like this before and something needs to be done, and it has to be done quickly."

Asked to offer his perspective on a possible solution to Samoa's constitutional crisis, Seumanufagai said: "Look here's the thing, we have seen the results of the general election. 

"The people have spoken and that's what we should prioritise. The party with the majority should step up and lead, while the other party should step aside and become the opposition party. 

"They should go ahead and have the newly elected M.P.'s sworn in and lead the government while waiting for the results of election petitions. 

"That, to my understanding is how things are usually done."

Seumanufagai then directed his comments towards the leader of the Human Rights Protection Party [H.R.P.P.] who has been at the helm for almost four decades. 

"He [Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi] should step down and let the winning party take over," he said.

"They should set aside their differences and accept the results of the elections. We are all waiting for them to do the right thing and they should keep in mind that the people are waiting and we are getting impatient."

Another High chief from the village of Falelima, Folasa Samoauatasi Folasa expressed the same sentiment. 

"We can't do much about it because we don't know what's really happening and how we got to where we are right now," Folasa told the Samoa Observer. 

"What I do know is that we should already have a government to lead the country by now. 

"We have enough of this whole saga; we are tired of all the blaming game, the accusations, the ongoing debate of who should be in power, all while thousands of Samoans are watching and waiting for this issue to be resolved. 

"The whole drama has also drawn the attention of other countries of the world [to Samoa]."

The issue may be complicated, added Folasa but he is of the belief that the solution to the problem is "simple."

"The way I see it, the solution is simple. We have already voted. The party with the majority should be the one to lead the country. 

"The H.R.P.P. should step aside and let the new party that won the majority of seats take over. What's so hard about doing that? Isn't that the right process and the best solution?

"A lot has happened after the elections last month and most of us are kept in the dark about the events that have happened and are happening. 

We are not experts when it comes to interpreting the law and Parliament's Standing Orders. 

"But as a matai who is looking after the family and our village, I believe that this can be solved through our fa'aaloalo (respect), culture and of course love. 

"The love for the people and love for the country."

In saying that, Folasa said he is disappointed especially at how the current situation is igniting anger amongst the people.

"This has created a lot of tensions amongst our people not only in Samoa but also those living abroad. It's not nice to see; it's very disappointing to see. 

"At times like these, we should remember that Samoan proverb: E afua mai mauga manuia o nu'u (from mountains flow the blessings for the village).

"Which means the wellbeing of families, communities and nations is largely dependent on its leaders. And as a leader of our extended family and village, I truly believe that it's time our leaders should work together, discuss and do what it's right for the people of Samoa.

"I truly believe that God will never abandon his people and the country of Samoa.

"All we can do now is to continue to pray for our leaders and for our country. We should set aside our differences and unite in prayers."

Moreover, the high chief of Salelologa, Taotua Ioane Matamua is a true believer that our leaders should always "trust God's calling and timing." 

"As I told you so many times before, we have been praying so much for the election that took place last month," Taotua said. 

"As a Christian, I am a strong believer that the result we got after the elections is the answer to our prayers. 

"We keep saying that every calling is from God, so whoever was chosen after that election, was chosen by God and all were destined to lead. 

"This is their time, and they were all called and chosen by the Lord. Anyone who dares fight against the will of God will be fighting a losing battle. 

"As humans and as Christians, we should never question the judgement of the Lord. But we all know what will happen to those who refuses to accept the will of the Lord. 

"The bible is very clear about the prize those who rejects God's perfect plans and will."

Taotua made it clear that he was not and will not favor one political party over the other. 

"If you ask me to choose which party I should support, I will not have an answer. I want you to understand that my views and opinions are based on my Christian beliefs as a matai, a father and a leader. 

"And I believe the leaders of our country should do the same. We keep saying that Samoa is founded on God, therefore, they should rely on the spirit of the Lord to help them do the right thing for the people of Samoa. 

"God is not blind to all that is happening to Samoa, and he will shine light upon the truth and the righteousness soon. And I cannot wait for that day to come.

"We are all praying for that day to come. For this country to have their God-chosen leaders and govern the nation for the next five years. 

"But for now, we are keeping our leaders and country in our prayers."

The political saga in Samoa continues, after the two major parties, the Human Rights Protection Party [H.R.P.P] and the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi [F.A.S.T.] both won 25 seats in the election after April's election. 

The lone independent candidate joined F.A.S.T. less than two weeks after the election to make the nine-month-old party lead by one majority seat.

On Monday, F.A.S.T. held its own swearing-in ceremony after a scheduled sitting of Parliament was cancelled by the Speaker of the previous Parliament, who ordered the Parliamentary precinct be locked down.

His Highness the Head of State of Samoa, Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, issued a writ on Friday, to declare the official opening of XVII Parliament on Monday. 

However, over the weekend he issued another writ, revoking his earlier decree and seeking to suspend Monday's convening of the Parliament. But the Supreme Court subsequently struck down that order and ruled that the sitting should go ahead.

F.A.S.T. members and supporters found the Parliament doors locked when they arrived on Monday morning.

The party's leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa along with other F.A.S.T. elected M.P.'s were sworn in during a makeshift ceremony held in a tent on the statehouse lawn in the capital. 

This legality of the swearing-in ceremony done on Monday has been challenged by the leader of the H.R.P.P. party.

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