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Former Samoa leader's constituency unwavering despite suspension

Apia, SAMOA — The constituency of suspended Samoan opposition leader and former prime minister has rallied behind him.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been suspended for 24 months, along with his party secretary, as a result of contempt of parliament charges.

A spokesperson for the Lepa constituency has told the Samoa Observer that, like their MP of nearly 40 years, they will not be entertaining him ever resigning because of his suspension.

Chief orator Auelua Samuelu Enari said his constituency's support for the suspended former Prime Minister is "steadfast and unwavering".

Speaking on behalf of the constituency, Auelua said that they are disappointed with the suspension but their continued support for the veteran politician can never be questioned.

He said while their voices as citizens of Lepa have been denied and their rights to be heard violated, they will have a meeting to look at the issue and discuss a way forward for the constituency.

Auelua said they are studying international human rights conventions which Samoa has ratified, to develop a strategy that would assist their suspended MP.

"For your information, our constituency is not in the dark with all that's been happening," Auelua said.

"We have observed the turn of events and what's been happening right from the start and we are of the view that this has been a motive from the beginning, to have our 'tofi' removed from Parliament."

He reminded that their constituency did not have an election as their MP was unopposed.

"That alone says a lot about what our people believe in and our position. We still have confidence in our leader and we trust him to be our representative or our voice in the supreme council of the land."

Auelua added that Tuilaepa was chosen to lead Samoa for many years and they remain grateful for his leadership.

"We would like to thank Samoa for their support and trust in him to be the Prime Minister for Samoa for many years."