Gatoaitele title holder clarifies

PHOTO: The presentation of the green ava for the preparation of the Royal Ava during the bestowal of the Malietoa title last Friday at Malie

By Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 20 AUGUST 2018: The holder of the Gaotaitele paramount chiefly title, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa has clarified that the title is not vacant as Talamua reported earlier, as he is the current holder of the title.

Gatoaitele also clarified that he did not stop the bestowal of the Malietoa title last Friday on Papali’i Fa’amausili Molī.

He clarified that his petition to court dated 15 August, sought “an order under Sections 49 and 50 of the Lands and Titles Act 1981, to stop bestowing the pāpās (honours) of the Gatoaitele as planned by the other division of Afega village – Maulolo Tavita, Ututaaloga Charlie and others at 3pm today.”

The petition also noted existing decisions of the Lands and Titles court on the title – LC 11088 (2007) and LC 11088P2-P5 (2012) “that prove no connection of this division of Maulolo Tavita and others to the Gatoaitele.”

On 16 August, the President of the Lands and Titles Court, Patu Falefatu Maka Sapolu ordered the chiefs and orators of Afega and Malie villages to stop the bestowal of the Malietoa title on Papali’i Fa’amausili Molī Malietoa.

The bestowal ceremony however went ahead on Friday morning 17 August at Malie village.

Afega village that traditional plays a major part in the bestowal of the Malietoa title, has been split in two villages between the families and supporters of Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa and the other led by Ututaaloga Charlie Ulia and Maulolo Tavita and others.

On the day the title was bestowed, 17 August, the Chiefs and Orators Afega village wrote to the Lands and Titles Court for an order to stop Papali’i Molī from using the title Malietoa. The petition was signed by five village matais and claimed (among other things) that the bestowal had disobeyed the court order and was not done in accordance with custom and tradition pertaining to the title.

Later that day, the Lands and Titles Court wrote to the Police to press charges against a number of Malie village chiefs including Papali’i Molī Malietoa for disobeying the court order to stop the title bestowment.

Those named to be charged include Papali’i Molī Malietoa, Toelupe Saua, Maualaivao Pepe, Seiuli Ueligitone, Auimatagi Saoloto, Tulasunui Umutaua, Tulasunui Ulaese, Leafa Atimalala, Tuiatafu Iafeta, Fa’amausili Chris, Maligiapu Sagele, Muagtutagata Peter and Aumatagi Fa’afetai.