FIFTEEN SAMOAN CHIEFS BANISHED FOR VOTE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, June 30) – A village council in Samoa has decided to banish 15 matais [chiefs] and their families because they did not support the high chief who was a candidate in this year’s general election.

The village council of Satapuala made the decision after a meeting where they discussed several issues the banished families disobeyed including the outcome of the election.

Unsuccessful candidate and former cabinet minister To’alepaialii Si’ueva is the high chief of the village. He is also leader of the Samoa Political Progressive Party.

He says the decision was unanimous but the council is awaiting the Lands and Titles Court to decide over a petition by his village asking to legalise their decision.

But one of the matai’s the council has penalized says they will file a petition asking the Lands and Titles Court to immediately stop the council from telling them to vacate the land and remove all their belongings.

High chief To’alepaialii says the Fono village act gives power to the matais to make rules in order for people in villages to live in peace.

But the banished matai who spoke on conditions not being named said the high chief and his supporters have caused instability by imposing penalties without people being thoroughly investigated.

July 3, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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