Tautua Party leader Afualo Dr. Wood Salele was visited by over 30 high chiefs of the Salega 1 constituency this morning, pleading with him to withdraw his petition against Fepuleai Fa’asavalu Faimata who polled a mere 8 votes ahead of Afualo at the recent elections.
Afualo is one of two Tautua Samoa party petitions filed against a FAST candidate in the Supreme Court of Samoa last Friday.
Salega 1 was one of the closest results of the recent elections, with Afualo polling third behind HRPP’s Toomata Aki Tuipea.
Speaking to Samoa Global News the former NUS Head of Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship said it was extremely difficult for him to see the high chiefs of the district come all the way from Savaii to him.
“If I’d known the matai wanted to speak with me, I’d have gone to Savaii.. it was very difficult to see them all today.. who am I to make the chiefs travel to Apia..” said Afualo.
“Na omai lo’u itumalo e tu’ualalo i la’u “sue”, ia ae sa ou fai atu iai, poo ai a’u ua tou omai ai, ana logo mai ua ou alu atu i Savaii e fai a tatou mataupu i o i le Malae o le Ma..”
“I told them to leave the request with me because the matter had to be discussed with the Tautua party members..
“However it was not easy to face senior members of the district,” said Afualo, “especially when some of them cried during our discussions”.
“Ua faigata ia a’u ona o lea ua omai matai matutua o le itumalo, ma ua fetagisi mai.. ae matua faigata lava ia a’u.”
Afualo said the petition has been filed with the Court and any withdrawals would be done at a time suitable to the Courts..
“These things cant be withdrawn because they’re with the lawyers..,” said Afualo, a little uncertain in his response.
“O le mea lava ia, e le toe mafai ona ave i tua leaga o lā ua i loia.. ae iai le taimi foi lea, auā o matou lea e pei e mulimuli i le lisi e oo atu lava iai….ia ma o lea e faatali se iuga o le case leiloa poo le vaiaso nei.”
The Tautua Party leader said his opponent, Fepuleai Faasavalu, should have come along with the group of matai this morning, to have a face-to-face discussion about the issues concerning him from the recent general elections.
“I have forgive him, but he should have shown his face to discuss these matters with me,” said the Tautua Party leader.
High Chiefs of Salega 1 Constituency, however, told the media at a press conference this afternoon that the Tautua Party leader has accepted the formal request made by over 30 matai.
According to Tuisalega Fualau Fu’a and Afualo Niue who spoke on behalf of the Council of Chiefs (Alii and Faipule) for Salega1, the special intervention was met favorably by Dr Salele.
The group of matai met with local media at Fepuleai’s home in Saina after the meeting with Afualo, to announce that Salega 1 would not be having a post-election Court petition.
They said 30 high chiefs representating the five Salega 1 villages of Fagafau, Samatauta, Samatatai, Fogatuli and Faiaai had travelled all the way from Savaii to meet with Afualo.
According to Tuisalega Fualau, the Tautua Party leader had accepted their request to withdraw his petition against the winning Faatuatua i Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi candidate, and thanked Afualo for his high regard of their request.
Tuisalega spoke about what a blessing it was to be able to solve issues face to face, when honorable men like Afualo were understanding and open minded to their pleads.
“E to le matou pulou, e moni a o oe o le failauga o le tala lelei, e avatu la matou faafetai, se mea e manaia o se tamalii e iai le tofa faatupu, ao se tali ua aumai, faafetai Afualo..”
“I le faafogafoaga mai a le Itumalo aemaise le nofo a Faafeagaiga ia Salega 1, faafetai tapua’i mai fanua, ua manino le mata o le vai i lā matou feiloaiga i le asõ.. Mo le faafofoga Samoa, ua tatala le faalavelave a Afualo, ua malie Afualo e alu Fepulea’i i le tofi”.
Another matai, Afualo Niue, told the media their sāvali was eventually accepted by Afualo.
“Although there were many issues raised by Afualo about the elections, he has accepted our request to withdraw his petition,” said Afualo Niue.
“He said he would tell his Tautua Party that he’d accepted our request to withdraw,” he added.
According to matai, their Constituency and respective Village Councils did discuss the possibility of post-election petitions, and they made a decision then, that whomever wins at the polls would go on to become the Member of Parliament for Salega 1.
Afualo, however, said he did not expect to loose the election and was shocked by the results,
“That’s when I knew something was wrong somewhere,” he said.
Afualo said he had filed an election petition to correct the wrongs he’d seen during the election campaign period.
“E ala nei ona ou alu i le Faamasinoga, ina ia sei tau faasa’o ai mea nei.”
The 28 petitions will be heard for first mention in the Supreme Court of Samoa Tuesday morning 4th May 2021.