Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, believes the Tautua Samoa Party dug a hole for itself due to the negligence of its leaders.
Tuilaepa made the comment when he was asked to reflect on the outcome of the General Elections where his ruling Human Rights Protection Party thundered back to power with a 47-3 victory over the Opposition Party.
“If you look back at the past five years, people have been taking notes about the work they had done in and outside of Parliament,” said Tuilaepa.
“Take for example the debates in Parliament. You have to follow the procedures which means your statements should be guided by your understanding of the Standing Orders.
“That is one major failure of the Opposition.”
Tuilaepa said the Tautua Party lacked a strategy and in Parliament, they did not have a plan. On the occasions where the members were not confusing themselves, no one intervened during their time on the floor, Tuilaepa said.
The Prime Minister added that the government cannot just sit around and allow the Tautua to make false statements in Parliament.
As for the H.R.P.P, Tuilaepa said the key is engagement with votes and people in the rural communities.
“What we did from the beginning is that we go out in the rural areas and talk to people about our candidates for general election,” the Prime Minister said.
As for claims about bribery and election votes being bought with money and chicken legs, he said this is not a new issue.
“There were briberies from 1982 and that is why we amended the Act to prevent it from influencing the decision by the voters,” he said.
“This is another big task that we dealt with to stop bribery during election period. We amended the law to stop the o’o (traditional presentation) from taking place and that it is only allowed after 12 months of election.”
Tuilaepa commended the office of the Electoral Commission for their many awareness programs where eligible voters were encouraged to register.
“Not registering is a crime and after this those who haven’t will be charged,” Tuilaepa explained.
“Another major bribery is transporting people to register and vote.
“The right thing to do is you walk to cast your vote but what we see is many are taken to register and even wait for candidates to transport them.”
The Prime Minister even suggested that eligible voters should be charged for not casting votes.
He said that the law should be amended to make it a must for eligible voters to vote to prevent the practice of candidates from taking them to the voting booth.
“That is how things happen is transporting the voters and then giving them cash on their way which can change the mind of voters. If this continues only those with money can run.”
As for accusations that H.R.P.P. won because of bribery leaving the Tautua without any option, Tuilaepa said such claim was a lie.
“These are probably the most unreliable people as there were a lot of briberies,” he said.
“You see the first person that claims they did not do wrong is the very person that did wrong.”