Head of State, a very sensitive matter, says P.M. Tuilaepa

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The sensitivity around the selection of the Head of State has led to discussions on whether the law should be amended to require a limit of two terms or ten years for the Head of State position. 

This is according to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during his weekly press conference at his office. 

He spoke about the Human Rights Political Party (H.R.P.P.) caucus last week where they held the election for the new Head of State. 

Last week on Friday during Parliament, Tuilaepa announced the appointment of  Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II as Samoa’s new Head of State. 

The date of the swearing in is yet to be announced. During his media conference, Tuilaepa pointed out Tui Atua and Tuimalealiifano are well respected leaders of the country. 

According to the Prime Minister, Tuimalealiifano served in the Ministry of Police, is an Attorney and was later appointed to the Council of Deputies. 

“He has served the Government for more than 20 years,” said Tuilaepa. 

“Tui Atua has been in office for two terms while Tuimalealiifano, looked on and did not say word. 

“Maybe this is how the Tama a Aiga reacts in these types of situations.”

He noted during the caucus meeting that there were concerns about how Tui Atua’s term had ended abruptly and some showed compassion about the situation. 

The Prime Minister noted this prompted discussions for Parliament to look at amending the Constitution to maybe limit the Head of State appointment to two terms or ten years.

 “It would be more accepting once it’s public knowledge that there are only two terms for the Head of State, rather than the current situation.” 

Concerns were raised about a Tama a Aiga being removed from their position in government. 

However the Prime Minister stated they are Tama a Aiga, they are well respected leaders in our country and nothing and no one can change that. 

“Do not mix the two,” he said. 

According to Tuilaepa, Tama Aiga is in our tradition and culture while the selection of government leaders is something of the modern world. 

As to the question of whether the former Head of State will be appointed to the Council, Tuilaepa said H.R.P.P. will have to vote whether Samoa’s outgoing Head of State, his Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi will have a seat as a Deputy Council Member. 

“Also it’s up to him [Tui Atua] whether he wants to be a Deputy Council Member. 

As reported earlier, Tuilaepa said during Parliament that “when the late Malietoa Tanumafili II passed away in 2007, Tuimaleali’ifano was one of the names considered for the Head of State twice in 2007 and again in 2012. 

 “But it was believed the timing was not right, he was not ready for the Head of State post. 

“It’s believed that every appointment comes from God and you have waited patiently and continued your service as a member of the Deputy Council.” 

The Prime Minister also noted that his Highness Tui Atua’s time in office will come to an end on 25 June, 2017. 

“This is a call from God and it was made through a secret whisper to each of Human Rights Protection Party as indicated under the constitution. 

“I commend Tui Atua for his service in the last 10 years. 

“I’m sure you want to continue serving your country, however thank you for your service to our country. 

“You many years of service in Government, you have served in every aspect of the Government. “You were a Member of Parliament; Prime Minister; Deputy Council and currently the Head of State. “Only God can reward you abundantly for your service to your Government and the People of Samoa. 

“The appointment of the Head of State was conducted on a democracy level, it was not an easy decision to make, for such a small country. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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