15 Dec 2005

Samoa chief faces banishment if he stands in election

10:46 am on 15 December 2005

In Samoa, an election row is brewing in the constituency of Sagaga le Falefa, where a junior matai, Faumuina Laneselota Polu faces possible banishment if he contests the district's seat in next year's elections.

Faumuina is the publisher and editor of the Le Samoa newspaper and the immediate past president of the Pacific Islands News Association.

The sitting MP for Sagaga Patea Satini has told the Samoa Observer that Faumuina was told by chiefs of Lotoso'a village last month that if he ran in the elections he would be banished.

Patea said the decision to banish Faumuina was made on the ground that a matai may not run against a high ranking matai.

However Faumuina is disputing Patea's statement, saying this was not the village's decision.