The ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) has endorsed Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to lead the party to the General Elections.
They have also retained Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo as Deputy Party Leader until after the ballots on 4 March 2016.
The decision was confirmed in a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s office yesterday.
According to the release, hints of Tuilaepa’s unprecedented return unopposed for two consecutive terms was long ago written on the wall.
“My electoral constituency has again honoured my long years of services by unanimously endorsing in September last year my candidacy unopposed when Samoa goes to the polls in March,” he said during his weekly talk show with FM Talofa Radio.
However, in a desperate move, the Opposition is now accusing Tuilaepa of alleged election bribery and if found guilty of the charge, would rule out Tuilaepa’s return to the political arena for the next five years.
The gist of the alleged bribery charges relate to Tuilaepa bestowed with four high chief matai titles in recent months. In the eyes of the Opposition, the matai titles are a camouflage by Tuilaepa’s campaign for re-election.
Not so, says the Prime Minister;
“Why would I need to campaign when I am already unopposed,” he said.
“There is no need for me to campaign, not that I needed to garner the support of my electorates even if the Lepa seat was contested in the elections.
“And if the Opposition had some ounce of common sense, they should know that the matai titles are sanctioned by the respective sa’os and families that own the matai titles and not Tuilaepa.
“My role is merely a recipient of these titles,
“Accepting the titles is a huge honour for any matai because it’s the Samoan way of showing respect and recognition for ones unblemished services to your family, your electoral constituency and your country.
“I strongly advise the Opposition Leader, (Palusalue Faapo II) to concentrate on his re-election stragedy.
“Funny enough, I have been told that he (Palusalue) has been transporting loads of voters to the Electoral Commissioner’s Office to register.
“Isn’t that a violation of the Electoral Act? “But I am just minding my own business.”
As a lead up to the elections, 115,741 registered voters have enrolled for the ballots with the one week nomination period candidates set from 8th to 12th of February.
The withdrawal for nominations will be from the 15th to the 19th of February.
Challenges or petitions questioning any candidates including the monotaga eligibility will be filed three days after the candidates registration closes.