The fact that a woman was voted in by a majority of men to the position of Deputy Leader of the H.R.P.P. following the General Elections, is laudable.
It has also been a long time coming.
Whilst there has been plenty of support from women and men in our community to see gender equity as a reality, this leading position going to a senior member of Cabinet, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa in what was said to be a close contest, is a very positive sign for the country.
Particularly when the alternative nominee for the position, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga has a less than distinguished record in his dealings with the taxpayers’ money and an arrogant, dismissive attitude when questioned about mismanagement and profligate spending.
The fact that he has never had to answer for adverse reports of spending by Government monitoring and parliamentary auditing agencies begs the question of why he is ‘teflon-coated’ when it comes to accountability.
Is it just a frantic case of covering up to keep the factional H.R.P.P. together or does he have greater influence because he knows where the “bodies are buried” and needs to be kept appeased?
Whatever the reason, his disastrous time as the Minister of Finance before he “resigned”, has not been forgotten by the general public even if it has by some of his caucus colleagues.
In total contrast, with a strong background of leadership passed on from both her parents, Fiame is a long serving a senior member of Cabinet.
She is eminently qualified for the Deputy Leader position and one hopes, as the country’s first woman Deputy Prime Minister.
Over the years, she has had wide experience in a number of portfolios, has served with distinction at the head of regional and global organisations while at the same time has inherited her father’s natural ease with people from all walks of life.
As the first female member of Cabinet, she has also been a strong advocate for other women to participate and engage in the political process whilst acknowledging all the skills and traits necessary.
From her own experience of some 30 years, she has pointed out that becoming a politician is a long-term learning process and that collaborating with others along the way is essential.
She has also cautioned against M.P.s focussing on programmes that will benefit the majority rather than what they personally want.
For all new M.P.s including Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuaau from Alataua West, this is wise advice.
We congratulate Deputy Leader Fiame, Prime Minister Tuilaepa and all the successful candidates from the 2016 General Elections.