By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 22 OCTOBER 2020: After years trying, village banishments and court cases, Tu’ulā Kiliri Lafi Tuitui has finally registered to run against the Prime Minister in the 2021 general elections.
The Alii ma Faipule of Saleapaga village have given their blessings to the candidate to contest Lepā Parliamentary seat currently held by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.
The Lepā electoral constituency includes Saleapaga, Aufaga and Lepā villages and had always been contested except for the 2016 election when Tuilaepa was elected unopposed.
Tu’ula humbly confirmed that he officially registered as a candidate late Tuesday afternoon.
For three times in the past, Tu’ula tried unsuccessfully to run as a candidate in the past elections but was deemed ineligible by the courts based on electoral requirements such as monotaga and tautua to the village.
Since then, the electrician worked to ensure that he met all the requirements for the 2021 elections.
“I am happy, humbled, and gratefully that finally everything is in order,” he said.
The Alii ma Faipule of Saleapaga met Monday morning, and according to Tu’ula, the meeting visited the old issues that had him disqualified. However, after deliberations, the council finally gave their consent recognising human rights as the basis for supporting the decision to have him run.
He said the meeting also touched on the fact that the incumbent is the country’s Prime Minister.
“I humbly acknowledge the village councils stance being the reason I am now a registered candidate, and I thank them for their understanding,” he said.
The candidate acknowledges that going against the Prime Minister will not be easy “but all things are possible with Yahweh,” he said.
He is happy he is through the first step of being registered and he is not sure if more obstacles are coming his ways before the election.
What’s important to Tu’ula now, is that the road is clear for him, and if he does not make it next year, he will try again.