Samoa Parliament Debates Splitting Of Electoral Districts

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Villages disagree about boundaries, split should be done ‘traditionally’

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 16, 2015) – The district of Safata is split over where to divide the district should Parliament pass the amendment for the division of electoral boundaries for constituencies that have two parliamentary seats.

The two Safata seats are held by the Leader of the Opposition, Palusalue Faapo 11 and the Minister of Works Manu’alesagalala Enokati Posala who may directly be against each other in next years’ general elections.

The amendment to the Electoral law is expected to be debated in Parliament this week.

Safata district consists of the traditional groupings of Alataua and Sa Tunumafono and both Palusalue and Manu’alesagalala are from the Sa Tunumafono side.

Alataua includes the sub-villages of Fusi, Fausaga, Tafitoala and Mulivai, whilst Satunumafono hosts five sub-villages of Sa’anapu, Lotofagā, Sataoa, Nu’usuatia and Vaie’e.

Alataua believes, the division should be done traditionally with Alataua taking on only the four villages within their statutory rights.

Sa Tunumafono is claiming that the sub-village of Vaie’e should be included in the Alataua side under the proposed division.

The issue has divided the district and the reason behind a delegation from Alataua that met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi today.

"We asked Tuilaepa to divide the district in accordance with the traditions as has governed the district for many years," said Alo Talato Ioapo,

Alo is the Tu’ua (senior matai) title of the village of Fusi.

He said Tuilaepa has assured them that the division would be done traditionally.

The delegation was led by representatives of the four villages that make up Alataua.

Palusalue told Talamua today, that the Safata district has met twice over the issue, and none of Alataua turned up to voice their concerns.

"Going to the Prime Minister is a cheap political shot," said Palusalue.

He said the Prime minister does not make the decision on where the district should be divided but members of the district.

Palusalue believes the only solution is for the Court to decide.

Asked what they thought of Palusalue’s comments, Alo said Palusalue is entitled to his opinion. And added that if the Court shall be the ultimate, so be it.

Palusalue said a delegation from the district will present their petition to the Prime Minister today, but was not sure if any member of Alataua would be part of the delegation.

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