Savai'i chiefs congratulate new P.M., calls for unity.
High chiefs on the big island of Savai'i have welcomed the beginning of a new chapter in Samoan politics, after a court ruled that Fiame Naomi Mataafa would be the nation's new Prime Minister.
Savai'i elders have been vocal in the past two weeks, calling on the former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi and his to concede defeat to the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, following the results of the April election.
"This is a historical moment for Samoa," Taotua Ioane Matamua, a high chief from Salelologa and spokesman for the Fa'asaleleaga No.1. told the Samoa Observer.
"He has answered our prayers.
"We give thanks to God first and foremost for his guidance, love, and protection upon Samoa and its people.
"It has not been an easy journey to where we are today, but we are here, and it's happening [...] this is God's will.
"As I said to you many times before, if it's his will, he will always make a way.
"So we are thankful that we can finally move forward."
Taotua then took the opportunity to pay tribute to the outgoing Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'lele Malielegaoi, and his leadership as Prime Minister of Samoa for more than two decades.
"Well done and we commend you for your service, hard work, dedication, and commitment," he said.
"Tuilaepa, you have been a great leader and contributed a lot to the development of Samoa and our people.
"The same goes for your Cabinet Ministers...You have sacrificed and worked hard for the country over the years and we have the utmost respect for you [Tuilaepa].
"Your service will not be forgotten."
Taotua also acknowledged the work of Samoa's judiciary for fighting "for what is best" for Samoa.
"I would like to also thank those who fought for justice and have been working tirelessly to solve Samoa's constitutional crisis over the past months," he said.
"I also acknowledge the ongoing prayers from members of the clergies."
Finally, Taotua turned to congratulate Samoa's new Prime Minister, and wished her all the best as she takes up the role from Tuilaepa.
"Fiame, congratulations on becoming Samoa's first female Prime Minister," he said.
"No doubt your parents are proud of the person you have become and the journey you took to be where you are today.
"I commend you for your bravery and for being patient.
"As you embark on this journey, always remember to [..] lead with love and humility. Keep the faith and humble yourself.
"We wish you all the best and may the Lord continue to guide you and encourage you to do his will."
Another high Chief, Semau Tavita from Patamea, shared similar sentiments.
"This is a new beginning for our country. We have a new Government and a new party to lead the country for the next five years," he said.
"It is also the first time a woman has been chosen to lead Samoa. You can't help but get excited at the sound of that.
"And we are talking about Fiame here...she was born to lead. She is continuing the legacy of her late parents and no doubt she will do great things during her tenure.
"She has our support and will be right behind her."
Another high chief, Alofipo Peteli II from Saleaula believes that the decision for a new government to be formed is "the answer from God."
"This is what we have been praying and waiting for.
"So this is it... the answer to our prayers and we are grateful. We have been asking God from the beginning to choose our leaders and for his will to be done."
Alofipo acknowledged and paid tribute to Tuilaepa's service to Samoa.
"Before anything else, let us all pause to thank Tuilaepa and his leadership. He has done so much for the country and we should not forget that.
"We wish Tuilaepa and his party all the best."
Alofipo also called upon the leaders of the country to "come together."
"We want to see our leaders unite and come together for the betterment of Samoa," he said.
"It's time to put all the differences aside and work together going forward.
"We also ask our people to keep the peace and keep praying for our leaders.
"It's time to let go of whatever happened in the past and let us all unite and pray for peace and prosperity for Samoa and its people."
Folasa Samoauatasi Folasa, a high chief from the village of Falelima is of the belief that the "future of Samoa is exciting" - including the prospect of a Parliament with a strong opposition.
"This is a new beginning for Samoa," Folasa said.
"We now have a new Government, a new Prime Minister, and new M.P.s.
"But you know what the most exciting thing about all of this? Samoa now has a stronger opposition.
"Something this country has been missing for such a long time. It will not be easy for the new government to face the opposition side, but as I said, it will be exciting to see and hear the debates in parliament.
"That's what makes democracy healthy and strong.
"We wish the leaders all the best, especially the new Prime Minister and her Cabinet.
"Lead with love, respect, humility and most importantly, put God first and foremost."