Candidate banished from village
The Samoa First Political Party candidate in the recent Fa’asaleleaga No. 2 by-election, Lema’i Faioso Sione, has been banished from his village in Savai’i.
The decision to banish Lema’i was made a week ago during Tuasivi and Fogapoa’s Village Council meeting.
Lema’i was banished after failing to pay a fine of 100 sows, which is the equivalent of $5,000.
He was told to pay this last week Monday.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Lema’i said his banishment by the Village Council was the result of his decision to run in the by-election despite the village agreeing to support another candidate.
He questioned the decision to banish him for exercising his Constitutional rights to run as a candidate.
“I was told I should not have run in the by-election because the village has already decided on a candidate,” Lema’i told the Samoa Observer.
“I was exercising my own right as an individual to run as a candidate and I do not agree with the decision by the Village Council to banish me for doing that.
“I was also asked to leave a service for another candidate because I was not their representative for the by-election. It is not right and to banish me is unjust.”
Lema’i, 55, said not everyone supports the Government. While there are candidates that run to represent the Government, there are also others who have different views.
“To me that should be considered. We also have rights to share that objective view of the kind of candidate that others want to support,” he said.
“We cannot deny that there are other groups of people that do not share the same value and perspective as the Government and like us our fight is for our customary lands and land issues.”
Asked what will be his next course of action, Lema’i said he is not sure.
He said he is not keen on taking it further as it could attract more sanctions from the Village Council.
However, he stressed that even if the political party he represented is a minority, it stands for its beliefs and has policies on various issues as is exercised in any democratic country.
Despite the candidate attracting 14 votes in the recent by-election, Lema’i maintains that it goes to show that there are people who do not always share the same views as those that support the Government.
Lema'i contested against three other candidates in the recent by-election. Two of the candidates ran under the banner of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) while the other candidate ran as an Independent.
Namualuulu Sami Leota was declared the winner.
It was not possible to get a comment from the village at press time.