Playground politics as the P.M. returns

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Marj Moore

The return of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has not come a moment too soon for most of us who have interests in life outside of playground politics. 

The reports of alleged and unseemly plotting, the forming of factions and jockeying for positions while the leader of our country was receiving medical treatment in New Zealand is rather tacky, to say the least.

And while each of us we would like to believe our health is a very private and personal matter and not anyone else’s business, for those people who hold powerful  leadership positions, things are probably a little different.

Would a little more information about the Prime Minister’s medical problems have quelled the speculation that has been swirling around about the seriousness of his situation and the future of our country? 

It’s hard to say, but probably not. 

Given that Tuilaepa is “of a certain age” and that having achieved what he has in what is viewed by many as a remarkable political career, perhaps it is not unexpected that his colleagues should want to start a conversation about succession, leadership and everything that goes with it.

It’s just the timing of it all.

So perhaps also, they might have been patient enough to wait until their leader was at least back in the country and had a moment to draw breath before dealing with the affairs of the nation and other trivia.

What has been interesting, has been the reaction of other politicians to Faumuina Wayne Fong’s announcement about being approached with an offer to join a particular group. 

The ink had barely dried on last Sunday’s paper edition which ran the story when there was a phone call and lot of huffing and puffing and righteous indignation from Faleata’s Member of Parliament, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.

Later in the week when he was able to share his story in the media, he demanded to know who Faumuina had been approached by and then claimed “… there is nothing going on in our party nor is there any underground jostling for the Prime Minister’s position among certain members as mentioned by Faumuina in the paper”.

How very strange.

How can he confidently make that statement?  

Now we are not sure whether he was put out by Faumuina’s story because 1. he himself hadn’t been approached, or whether 2. he was actually one of the “approachers” or 3. He wanted to know who this group was.  

As it stands, it probably doesn’t matter very much.

But even a week or two can be a long, long time in politics as New Zealanders have recently learned after their elections.

So in the meantime, we are hopeful that our P.M. has returned in good health to once again restore order in his party and get on with his job. 

But here’s a thought.

Have we got an Opposition Party forming within the H.R.P.P.?

Given that we don’t have one outside to keep the governing party honest, maybe that would not be such a bad thing. 

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