Week of tension and anxiety

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The story titled “Mystery of who will be Deputy P.M.” on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday Samoan gave rise to a couple of thoughts. 

At the beginning of a week where all eyes are on who will occupy what position in Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s new-look Cabinet line up, we’d like to share these thoughts with you. 

Firstly, for the sake of party unity, Prime Minister and H.R.P.P leader Tuilaepa will not appoint Faumuina Tiatia Liuga as Deputy Prime Minister. 

The reason is quite obvious. 

Given the questions surrounding the behaviour of Faumuina – and the destabilising effect of this on the party as we have already seen – Prime Minister Tuilaepa will have too much to lose. Not only does he risk an internal revolt against Faumuina and inevitably his leadership, Tuilaepa does not need the headaches on top of all else he has to deal with.

On the other, knowing that this could well be his last term in Parliament – if he so chooses – Tuilaepa could very well pick Faumuina simply to tell everyone else including his foes in the party that he can do whatever he likes, whether they agree or not. 

And that’s a real possibility folks. 

We say this because despite everything, Faumuina continues to be a key member in the H.R.P.P set up. All you have to do is consider the final outcome of the vote for the H.R.P.P’s Deputy leader, which was won by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, 21-19. The margin is not a lot. 

In fact, it could have easily swung the other way, making Faumuina the Deputy leader. Had that been the case, there is little doubt he would have by now been the Deputy Prime Minister.

The question is would the result have remained the same had seven other members of the party voted? We are talking about the members who were apparently absent during the vote. Was this deliberate?

Either way, it’s safe to say that these are interesting times in so far as the H.R.P.P is concerned. 

It’s one of them situations where nothing is what it seems.

And rest assured, incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe would not go down without a fight. He would be pushing hard to keep his position and he will feel that he should be given another term.

Fiame’s victory during last week’s party vote should have her as the favourite. And she is the most likely candidate – not only in terms of support and party stability – but it will also gain the government and Samoa a lot of respect to have a woman as the Deputy Prime Minister for the first time in history.

Another issue that is causing much tension is the question of who would be appointed as Cabinet Ministers. These are tough times for Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

His party had sure won the battle during the General Election but now he needs to win the war in terms of making the right decisions, picking the right people and keeping the party together. Suffice to say, for Tuilaepa, it’s a case of walking on glass and no one would want to be in his shoes right now. 

The good news is that we don’t have long to go now.

At the end this week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa will unveil his new Cabinet line up and all this tension and anxiety will finally be a thing of the past. 

Or so we hope so.

Have a beautiful week Samoa, God bless!

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