Why is it that every time we’re thinking about the term bureaucratic corruption, the first name that comes to mind is that of the late lawyer and Member of Parliament, Dr. Asiata A.V. Sale’imoa Va’ai?
And why is it that he was such an influential person at the time as far as the Samoa Observer staffers were concerned?
Our simple answer is that he was the only person who dared to predict then, that the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) was aiming to turn Samoa slowly - and yes irrefutably - into becoming a “dictatorship.”
And how was the H.R.P.P. planning to achieve that goal?
By making bureaucratic corruption a legal concept within the H.R.P.P. - and since the party has remained the government consistently over the years - therefore also throughout Samoa.
But what exactly is bureaucratic corruption anyway?
“It is the use of political powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain,” explains Wikipedia.
It adds: “It is an illegal act by an officeholder that is related directly to his official duties, and it’s done under color of law or involves trading in influence.”
In other words, bureaucratic corruption is an unlawful gimmick that is aimed at achieving a goal knowing well that the proceeds from which, will have been made illegally and fraudulently.
And so, are we to accept that all these years our government – also known as our H.R.P.P. - has been running our country with millions and millions of Tala it has been acquiring illegally and fraudulently, all those years?
Please don’t answer.
Or even try to explain anything.
It doesn’t matter. What matters is that besides being the only Member of Parliament to have publicly predicted at the time that the H.R.P.P. government was heading towards becoming a “dictatorship”, he was also the only one who’d gone on and revealed how his colleagues were going to make that “dream” of theirs, come true.
With the use of illegally and fraudulently acquired funds.
Dr Asiata S. Va’ai passed away on 2 September 2010.
Seven years later, on 7 February 2016, his story was published in the Samoa Observer for the first time.
In it, Dr. Va’ai referred to the two laws called the Parliamentary Undersecretaries Act 1988, and the Public Service (Special Posts) Act 1989, saying: “These two laws will largely be responsible for the establishment of HRPP’s dictatorship over Samoa.”
And what did the H.R.P.P. leadership do in response after the story was published?
They virtually ignored it.
And yet today, as we can all clearly see, Dr Asiata’s prediction is so hauntingly surreal, it’s frightening.
Said the epistle Dr Va’ai left behind: “These two laws will largely be responsible for the establishment of HRPP’s dictatorship over Samoa.
“Ultimately, this situation of unaccountability of Cabinet and the Public Servants, does not only affect the quality of service provided but create a culture of collusion and corruption in government involving the employer (Cabinet) and employees (public servants), whereby politicians and public servants look after each other in government; you rub my back, and I’ll rub your back.
“With the public service firmly head-locked by the HRPP government, the recent massive increases in public service salaries and the party control over other institutions of government arms, the HRPP is bound to remain in power for many more years unless its systemic corruption of government is widely recognized and then rectified.
“Opposition voiced in newspapers such as the Samoa Observer focuses on social and political issues, that have proved over the years to have had very little impact on a population that vote largely on considerations of families, customs, traditions, bribery and treating.
“It however, leaves relatively untouched the root of the dictatorship problem and stranglehold on power the one party H.R.P.P. government has, that cannot be effectively addressed other than through the Courts, and an educated voting population that understands the undemocratic and dangerous political situation Samoa is in.”
Just recently, when Prime Minister Tuilaepa told the public the Police would be armed with guns during the course of their work, for a moment there the mind just refused to think.
And now the question is: Armed with guns to shoot what?
Dogs and pigs as they’re sniffing for scraps and crumps all over the streets of Apia, old beggars as they’re holding up their hands for change as they’re squatting here and there, or young children draped in rags as they’re hawking junk all over the place during the day, and then later in the dead of night when they’re tired of begging, they’ll turn around and attack the old and the innocent, as they’re wobbling down the road?
And with that thought in mind, are we to also accept that that there will surely be bloodshed and grieving all over those roads.
We have no idea.
All we can say is that when the leader of a country, is in that position where he has absolute power so that he can do anything he wants to do without having to seek advice from anyone, that country is a dictatorship and the rule of law, as the late Dr. Va’ai is now warning from the grave, is nothing since it simply does not exists.
And so, for those who were not around then, perhaps now is the time to read as much as they could about Dr. Vaai, and especially what he’d written that would show how he’d known when our government was heading towards becoming a dictatorship.
This is vitally important, we believe, since despite his expressed worries that this country was heading inevitably towards becoming a dictatorship, today we are still that paradise of law abiding citizens that we’ve always been, and what’s more, we are also just as peaceful and free - if not more so - as we’ve always been.
Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless.