To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 20 March 2001
Former Minister of Health and new Deputy Prime Minister, Misa Telefoni has taken over the Prime Minister’s old job that is as Minister of Finance.
It was predicted by many that Misa would become the Minister of Finance after this year’s General Election and yesterday it became a reality when Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi announced his new Cabinet Minister in Parliament.
Misa was the Minister of Agriculture before he was appointed Minister of Health in 1996 when Sala Vaimili 11 Minister of Health back then, didn’t make it through the 1996 elections.
Misa, along with Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Hans Joe Keil, Tuala Sale Tagaloa and the PM all returned to cabinet despite their portfolio changes.
Fiame is still Minister of Education while Hans Joe Keil takes over from Tuala Sale Tagaloa in the Tourism and Trade, Commerce and Industry portfolios. Tuala has been appointed to the Minister for Lands and Survey, Environment and WESTEC. Tuilaepa will be in charge of Foreign Affairs, and of course the Prime Minister’s Department.
Missing from the new look Cabinet are the five former ministers that lost their seats in ministers that lost their seats in the General Elections while Leota Lu 11 and Le Ituala Tone returned to Parliament but failed to retain their ministerial portfolios.
There are new recruits who’ve entered Parliament for the first time and are headed straight to Cabinet whereas two veterans of the house are finally having a taste of Cabinet duties.
Mulitalo Siafausa, former Deputy Speaker, is now Minister of Health and Palusalue Fapo 11 is Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation.
The new Cabinet Ministers include: Tuala Ainiuusi, Minister of Women Affairs, Faumuina Liuga, Minister of Public Works; Tuisugaletaua Sofara, Minister of Agriculture; Ulu Vaomalo Kini, Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, Seumanutafa Aika Ah Wa, Minister of Justice; and Gaina Tino as the new Minister of the Legislative Department and Audit.
The selection of the new Cabinet could’ve been a hard job for Tuilaepa but since he lost five of his Ministers after the election, his job was probably easier than expected.
The selection procedure for the Cabinet members according to Tuilaepa is based on the fact that both Savaii and Upolu should have a member in Cabinet.
The Head of State, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, was at Parliament to officially swear in the new Cabinet Members while hundreds of MPs relations and supporters looked on from both inside and out of Parliament House.
Before Tuilaepa announced his new cabinet, he once again thanked the country and members of the House for their support for the Human Rights Protection Party.
He also acknowledges the great contribution by the former Opposition Leader Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese to the country during his reign as an Opposition Leader.
There are unconfirmed reports that Tuiatua is currently overseas in the wake of his stepping down from the Samoa National Development Party on Friday last week.
Tuilaepa said Tuiatua had contributed to the running of Government by putting up a strong opposition.
At the same time Tuilaepa also congratulated Tuiatua’s successor, Le Mamea Ropati, for becoming the new Opposition Leader. Leader of the United Independents group Asiata Dr Saleimoa Vaai was also given a warm acknowledgement from the Prime Minister.
According to Tuilaepa, he and his Cabinet will get straight to work in their respective ministerial roles.