By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: The chiefs representing the villages of Sasina, Fagae’e and Letui have clarified that the paramount title, La’aulialemalietoa that their Member of Parliament, Leuatea Polata’ivao holds, is an honour bestowed by the district as gifted by the Malietoa family.
The MP was sworn in yesterday morning. However, the Speaker of Parliament questioned that his title as in the notice of his appointment by the Head of State, was La’auli Polata’ivao Leuatea and not La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao as he is always known.
Speaking to the media after the swearing in ceremony, Orator Seve Avaula Panapa explained that the honour was bestowed by the Malietoa Family in return for the village’s service.
“The title is not for a particular family but the village and the village decided to bestow the paramount title on Leuatea Polata’ivao as his title to represent the constituency in Parliament,” Seve explained.
The orator was disappointed when the Speaker questioned the title during their MPs swearing in yesterday morning.
“Parliament may stop using the title La’aulialemalietoa, but we will continue to honour and refer to our MP as La’aulialemalietoa,” Seve explained. “Parliament cannot stop the Faletolu’s claim as it is an honour given as a paramount title for our village and will continue to honour title.”
“E le mafai e le maota lea ona taofi le lauga a le Faletolu ma le fa’alagilagi pea o le latou igagato, o le Tama Aiga, le Susuga i le La’aulialemalietoa. Pe fa’asa i le Maota fono, a’o fea lava o Samoa e folau ai Aiga ma le Faletolu, e fa’alupe lava le Susuga i le La’aulialemalietoa e le mafai ona taofia.”
He said the La’aulialemalietoa title is different from La’auli – the guild of untitled men – as Sa’o’aumaga of the Malietoa title.
“E ese le La’aulialemalietoa, ese le La’auli, o le Sa’o ‘aumaga lea ua fa’amatai ona o le leai o ni matai o aiga.”
Origins and how the title La’aulialemalietoa came to the village
Seve explained that the La’aulialemalietoa title was among three other titles gifted by the Malietoa family to their village in a meeting at the traditional meeting place at Vaito’elau in Malie.
The three titles were La’aulialemalietoa, To’oā and Moeimanono, in return for their service as part of the Malietoa family, according to Seve.
Seve explained that their village is part of the Malietoa family as the Aiga Sa Malietoā and also of the Sa Tupuā family and served by the orators of the Faletolu.
Seve expressed his disappointment when the Speaker questioned the title during the swearing in ceremony.
“O le mea moni, e leai se isi e vaoia Aiga Sa Tupuā ma le Aiga Sa Malietoā ma le lauga a le Faletolu i le tautuaina o le tama lea, ma o le ala lea e fa’alupe ai pea le matou igagatō.”
Papalii Titi Malietoa, son of the late Head of State, Malietoa Tanumafili 11, acknowledged Seve’s clarification and confirmed that their side of the Aiga Sa Malietoa family support the title La’aulialemalietoa given the village and constituency as Malietoa’s family.
“Lea matou te manino iai. O matou nei na fananau mai i le manava o Malietoa Tanumalfili 11, ua maea ona tofi, ae ia faaatoatoa le tulaga o le tulafono,” said Papali’i.
La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao told the media that the family has taken the steps to clear the title.
The controversy regarding La’auli’s title in parliament yesterday is seen as part of his long political battle with the Prime Minister. Last week, the Prime Minister questioned the title in a media interview. So having the Speaker ask the same question at the swearing in yesterday sounds familiar.
The question people are asking is, why now?
Why at the swearing in of the leader of a political adversary, leader of a new political party that is posing a real threat and may end HRPPs 40 year old rule?
In his address in parliament yesterday, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao said, “our time will come.”