Candidate wants awareness raised on new monotaga clause
Election candidates for newly formed electoral constituencies, can now use their monotaga of three consecutive years from as far back as ten years ago, to qualify for the General Election in April.
The change was approved by Parliament when they passed the Electoral Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2020 during an urgent sitting.
Commercial farmer, Papali'i Panoa Tavita, who was among two candidates to challenge the Electoral Act, said the law change has allowed him to qualify for the election by using his monotaga from previous years. And he wants other aspiring candidates to be aware that they too can qualify.
“If you had rendered your monotaga from 1997 to 1999 you can still use that service to run," he said. "You not necessarily have to be providing your monotaga the three years ending on nomination for election.
“A lot of candidates do not know the new change and they can consult their lawyers with that so they can compete.”
Before the amendment was passed, the electoral law had exempted Members of Parliament from fulfilling three years of monotaga in a newly formed constituency.
That clause was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court amongst other electoral provisions which led to two separate rules on how a matai can render their monotaga to the village council.
The change says that a person contesting the election from a newly formed, or divided constituency, has to render monotaga for three consecutive years for a matai in that territorial constituency.
Those electoral constituencies include; Vaimauga 2, Vaimauga 3, Vaimauga 4, Faleata 1, Faleata 2, Faleata 3, Faleata 4, Sagaga 1, Sagaga 4, Aana Alofi 4, Aiga ile Tai, Safata 1, Safata 2, Vaa o Fonoti, Anoamaa 1, Faasaleleaga 1, Palauli 2, Gagaemauga 1 and Sagaga 3.
The second set of rules for rendering monotaga is for candidates from other constituencies that were not affected by the new division of electoral boundaries.
As stipulated in the Electoral Act 2019, candidates for those constituencies are required to render monotaga for a minimum of three years ending on the day in which nomination paper is lodged with the Electoral Commissioner.