We are just a couple of weeks away from our general elections, and as we’ve all been expecting, it’s déjà vu madness all over again. Come to think of it though, it’s been like this over the years.
This time though it’s opposition Tautua Samoa Party who’s started the ball rolling so to speak, by suing the government of Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, claiming it had breached the Constitution.
And how did the government breach the Constitution?
When it violated the so-called Supreme Law’s section 32, the Opposition leader Palusalue Fa’apo II, says.
So let’s take a look at Section 32.
It says: “There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, who shall have the general direction and control of the executive government of Samoa, and shall be collectively responsible therefore to Parliament.”
Fine. But how did the government violate Section 32?
Explains Palusalue: “It is clear under section 32 that if a Minister resigns, all other Ministers should resign as a collective responsibility.”
Now is that so? Yes sir, says Palusalue, adding: “This is clearly stated in the Constitution.”
Anyway, which minister who’d resigned was he referring to?
It was the former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, Palusalue reminded. At the time Faumuina was also the Minister of the Samoa Land Corporation.
Two years ago he became deeply embroiled in scandal with serious allegations of corruption made against him, so that he was forced to resign.
But then instead of him being completely removed from Cabinet, he was given another ministerial portfolio so that he remained an Associate Cabinet Minister, and that way he continued to attend Cabinet meetings as though he’d not resigned.
And now according to Palusalue, the Constitution is clear that Cabinet has a “collective responsibility” to Parliament so that since one cabinet minister had resigned, the rest should have also resigned.
But why did the Oppositon wait two years after Faumuina had resigned to lodge their claim?
Responds Opposition M.P., Afualo Dr. Wood: “We waited until Parliament dissolves to see what Cabinet will do.
“But just like we suspected, they did nothing. So we decided to take legal action to ensure the people are protected.”
Afualo also said “what’s important is for the government to lead by example,” adding: “What’s the point of having legislation if the government does not follow it?”
And then Caretaker Prime, Minister Tuilaepa entered the fray, and announced: “I am going to sue them for $100 billion and two coconuts, starting from Palu.”
And if he won, what is he going to do with his $100 billions and his two coconuts?
Tuilaepa explained: “The two coconuts would be used to feed my chickens, and the $100 billion will go towards government developments.”
Wonderful! The man thinks about everything and every animal. Even the motherless chickens.
What about the slovenly-dressed kids begging on the streets of Apia every day instead of going to school? What about those old women harassing people all over the place asking for money to feed their families?
And then as if this déjà vu madness we’re talking about here is no longer maddening enough, seven petitions pertaining to the general elections up ahead are now in court.
The list though is chilling.
And topping it – you guessed it - is no other than caretaker prime minister, Tuilapea Sailele Malielegaoi, of the Lepa Constituency, whose seat is being challenged by a virtual unknown, Tu’ula Kiliri Tuitui.
The others are:
GAGAIFOMAUGA No. 3 -
• Speaker of Parliament, Laauli Polataivao Leuatea versus Faaulusau Rosa Duffy
Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, versus Fiaola Iosua Lole.
•VAIMAUAGA EAST -
Cabinet Minister Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau versus Acting Electoral Commissioner and Fuatimau Maumea Leniu.
•PALAULI LE FALEFA -
Faumuina Tiatia Liuga versus Tagaloa Dr. Pita Alailima
• ALEIPATA ITUPA I LUGA -
Amituanai Fagaivalu Samu and Alii ma Faipule o Lalomanu versus Leo’o Dr. John Adams
• ANOAMA’A WEST -
Leota Seiuli Seufata and Alii ma Faipule of Solosolo versus Leota Leuluaialii Ale and the Acting Electoral Commissioner.
Now let’s see.
The Members of Parliament whose seats are being challenged include the current prime minister, the current speaker of parliament, two current cabinet ministers, a former speaker of parliament, and then there is that cabinet minister who resigned but then for whatever reason, he was given another ministerial portfolio so that in the end, he never left either cabinet or parliament.
Come to think of it all though, it appears that Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been unfairly slapped a raw deal here for whatever reason, and that we would dearly want to know.
In any case, the way we see it, he shouldn’t worry too much though. All he’s got to do is repeat that old trick the H.R.P.P. – under his tutelage anyway – had employed to win those elections at Anoaama’a some fifteen years ago.
It was a brilliant old trick then and there is really no reason it cannot go on and deliver the same titillating, mind-pleasing results today.
Well, if you’ve either forgotten about it or perhaps you were not yet around at the time, let me tell you what happened there.
It was when a bag of money walked out of a government office on Beach Road and then it continued on to H.R.P.P.’s headquarters at Mulinu’u, where it was apparently given some very strict instructions we’ve been told.
It was told to go to Anoama’a out east where by-elections were taking place that morning, and then on arrival it was to hand over the cash it was carrying to those voters who would be lining up there as they were heading for the voting booth, and then that done, it was to get out of that place as quickly as possible.
In the end, the H.R.P.P candidate won the elections. Now that was such a brilliant trick we were so thrilled that we wrote a story about it, and later that story was published in the Samoa Observer.
But then soon after the story had appeared, somehow Tuilaepa was far from thrilled; he was pretty angry instead so he sued the paper claiming defamation and sought a substantial amount of money in damages.
But then something happened – whatever it was though we were not told – and all we knew was that Tuilaepa’s legal action was aborted, and in the end it just vanished.
As for his writ against the Opposition Party where he’s seeking $100 billion and two coconuts in damages, well, to tell the truth we’ve got absolutey no idea about what’s going to happen to that one.
Still, the questions we’re pretty sure are in everyone’s mind today are: Who has $100 billions anyway? Shouldn’t he reverse his figures to 100 billion coconuts and $2 instead?
Come to think about it though, those figures would be quite reasonable given the shoddy state of this country’s economy under his tutelage today anyway.
In other words, without aid, Samoa’s economy would have sunk in the Pacific Ocean, a long time ago.
Tell us what you think.