The appointment of two new members of the Council of Deputies has been cricitised by the caretaker M.P of Salega, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele.
Speaking during the Tautua Samoa Party’s weekly press conference yesterday, Afualo was particularly concerned about the government’s failure to appoint a representative from Savai’i to the Council.
He said that the government’s motto of what is good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i has been brushed aside in this matter.
According to Afualo the roles should be shared among the people from Savai’i and Upolu.
But that is not the case with the newly elected members, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, Tuiloma Pule Lameko and the oldest member of the C.O.D, Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, all being from Upolu.
“I’m from Pule Ono (Savai’i) and only those from Tumua (Upolu) were elected,” said Afulo.
Pule Ono and Tumua are traditional honorifics of the islands of Savai’i and Upolu.
“It’s not a government of Tumua only - it is one that consists of Tumua ma Pule…I feel for the people of Pule Ono because they are just staring on while Tumua enjoys it all.”
According to Afualo the motion by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to appoint Le Mamea and Tuiloma last week was a one man’s decision.
“This is the very reason why we objected to the amendments in the Constitution of the appointment of Head of State,” said Afualo.
“Because instead of Parliament making the decision, it is now the government of the day’s decision to make the nomination.
“But we, the Opposition should still be given that opportunity to nominate someone. Even if it gets rejected, at least the country has heard our views.”
In June 2014, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi tabled the constitution Amendment bill (no2) that seeks to change the process during which the Head of State is elected.
Now that the bill has been passed, it means all Members of the legislative assembly have had their votes to nominate the Head of State stripped.
Instead, the government of the day will nominate a person to be appointed the Head of State.
The M.P for Salega also pointed out that it seems that the appointment is a reward for being veteran M.Ps of the Human Rights Protection Party.
“But how about other people that had served the country in different ways,” said Afualo.
“They have made the appointment based on this but how about those from Pule Ono.
“I don’t think there was any foresight and wisdom put in the changes they made to the Constitution considering these areas.”
Afualo added that the appointment of the Council of Deputies is a reflection of how future Heads of States will be appointed.
Tautua Leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, agrees
“These positions should be for Tama Aiga,” insisted Palu.
“Even though it’s not spelt out in the Constitution that Tama-a-Aiga should only be entitled to the appointment it doesn’t need to be. Because everyone knows who it should be given to unlike what we are seeing now, any M.P and their families can be elected now.”
Palu explained that with the amendment made by the H.R.P.P. it would mean that any political party that is government of the day can nominate their own members to be appointed.
“Priority should be our Tama-a-Aiga. I still cannot believe that all the M.Ps from that side voted for the change in Constitution.”
Palusalue added that if this is how the appointments are made, then they should’ve considered Aeau Peniamina Leavaise’eta and Le Tagaloa Pita for the appointments rather than favouring their own M.Ps.
Deputy Leader, Aeau shared his views.
He said the sole holder of Council of Deputies position, Tuimaleali’ifano as well as the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua, should have been consulted.
Le Tagaloa supported Aeau.
He pointed out that the positions should’ve been occupied by the Tama-a-Aiga.
“They are chiefs of all chiefs,” said Le Tagaloa.
“There isn’t one person that is not connected to these Tama-a-Aiga families.
“The priority should have been given to those that are currently holding the paramount titles such as Tui Atua, Gatoaitele, Tui Aana, Tamasoaali’i, Tagaloa, Tonumaipea, Malietoa and Lilomaiava…they are chiefs of all chiefs.”
Prior to the appointment of Tuiloma and Le Mamea, Faumuina Anapapa was elected in the position of C.O.D in 2002.
In 1998, Mataia Sio of Vaimoso was appointed another member of the Council.
The incumbent Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi was a member of the Council of Deputies before he was elevated to his current position in 2007.