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Samoa Cabinet terminates Satapuala Mayor after clash

reporters@samoanews.com

The Samoa government terminated the village mayor of Satapuala, Ga Sakaria last week Thursday, according to a letter from the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD), Cabinet, which said the decision was made on the same day the letter was delivered.

It was signed by CEO, Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago and the letter was obtained by the Sunday Samoan does not give any reasons for the decision.

“In accordance with a decision made by Cabinet, you are informed that your role as the representative of the village as was endorsed on 5 October 2011 F.K (11) 32 has ended, effective today, Thursday 16 August 2012,” Leituala wrote.

 “For further information about the reasons, contact the Ministry on 27753 or 27754.” Samoa Observer reports that Ga was teary when he spoke about how he was sacked. He said the letter was handed to him by a young man of their village.

“He told me it was given to him by a man driving a van belonging to the Ministry of Women on Thursday,” said Ga. It was last week Thursday when Satapuala blocked the main road where Samoa Police officers interfered with the protest by Satapuala villagers for their land grievances.

The land on which the Samoa government intends to built the hospital is funded by the United States of America. Ga told Samoa Observer that the decision was personal.

“They should’ve had the decency to call me and inform me about what their reasons are instead of sending a messenger with the letter,” he said. “The letter gives no reasons. It’s very unprofessional.”

Ga said the Government may have terminated him but he will continue to perform his role in the village. “This doesn’t mean I will stop playing my role as mayor in Satapuala.

"The Ali’i and Faipule have spoken and they want me to continue my duties as their mayor” Ga said. He plans to contact the Ministry of Women to find out what happened.

“But I suspect that it’s because they think I didn’t play my role as mayor in this issue between the village and government."

“I’ve tried my best to be neutral. I’m not the only person who makes decisions in the village.” Spokesperson for Satapuala, Vaili Mimita II confirmed that the village has agreed for Ga to continue to be their mayor. “We understand he was stripped of the title by Cabinet because of what has happened,” said Vaili.

“But we will nominate Ga again. The Government doesn't tell us who should be our pulenu’u. That’s a decision by the village.” Vaili, on behalf of Satapuala, also responded to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi's verbal comments last week Thursday, referring to Satapuala villagers as “stinking pigs”.

Vaili told Samoa Observer that the Prime Minister should go back to Sunday school so he could be taught about respect and good manners. “He lacks respect for people, and that shows he is brainless. “As a leader, he has no class. But then he is too high-minded to know that,” said Vaili.

As Samoa News reported last week, Tuilaepa said to the media in Samoa, “No leader will sit back and allow people who act like stinking pigs to run amok.” Tuilaepa also described the matai leadership of Satapuala “fools.”

Speaking to the Weekend Observer yesterday, Vaili said Tuilaepa’s outburst reflected the kind of person he is. “We are not pigs,” said Vaili. “We would like to return those words to you Tuilaepa. If you think you’re a stinking pig, then you must be one. “Let me remind you that you are talking to high chiefs (tupu ma tamali’i) of Samoa.

"These words you have used show you have no brains and that you lack wisdom and foresight.” Vaili said Tuilaepa’s comments on national TV stirred up anger among fellow villagers.

“I cried because I thought about all our ancestors whom the Prime Minister has ridiculed. I thought about the forefathers of this village who have been described as stinking pigs by the Prime Minister."

“This must be the lowest thing anyone can say to another living soul. To me, as a matai in Samoa… and a person with a brain, Tuilaepa should go back to Sunday school and learn about respect. He should learn some good manners about dealing with others.

“Every single person in Satapuala including the children are hurt."

“How can someone we look up to as the father of the country say such things?” Vaili said .

Tuilaepa should be “man enough” to show up to Satapuala and say that “to our faces,”  he added.

“He should stop using the police to try and scare us.” Vaili told Samoa Observer that the Satapuala village council is looking at a possible lawsuit against the police over the way they treated the people of Satapuala last Thursday.

“It seemed like our village were criminals,” said Vaili. “We did not break any law. Our roadblock was a peaceful protest and yet the police manhandled some of our people and discharged their firearms in a threatening way."

Tuilaepa told the media in Samoa that Satapuala villagers who blocked the main road should be arrested for breaking the law. “This kind of attitude is shameful to the country,” he said. “It’s unacceptable. That’s why I’ve ordered to have all of them arrested. “If not, bring in their Ali’i ma Faipule and charge them all.”



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