Politics is about change

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Dear Editor 

As of late, the Parliament unanimously agree to limit the incumbency of the Head of State for two five years term, only to backfire by the front door of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is now under public scrutiny while his very office is now centre-stage because people seem to take notice of double standards and the double speech by the politicians. 

I do not pretend to know the ins and outs of Samoa’s Constitution but I am not a fan of ‘one size fits all,’ reason being, we are rational beings, not robots. 

In sense, the law that limits the terms of the Head of State, a role chosen by the Parliament, not by the people, should not always be applied to the Prime Minister because of his role as the head of the government. 

However, I understand the frustration of the supporters on the other side of the aisle for not having their voices heard or not having significant roles within the government for almost twenty years.

In stating this, however, the question of limiting the terms of the Prime Minister is a valid question.

The sad thing about this push of limiting the terms of the Prime Minister is the way some people express their views. We can all disagree with almost everyone but let us see to disagree without being disagreeable at any level.

Samoa, the Prime Minister’s citizenship alone deserves respect. If that is not enough, his office entitles him of respect, if not reverence, and that is what every decent human being does. 

Now, in the subject of change.

Do we really want change? What kind of political change can we actually afford without digressing economically and socially? What specific political change is needed and how much change is worth risking? 

Early this year, I saw the need to replace my alternator belt. While alternator belt replacement is an easy job, or so I thought, only to aggravate the whole system. The drasticality of my decision to change my alternator belt, without consulting my friend YouTube, affected my car’s electrical system.

In car and in politics, change is needed but do we really know the end-result of our wish to change 

Bear in mind that change gives us no assurance of progress, only an assurance of change, so careful consideration must be taken.

I do not just welcome any change just like I don’t welcome just any one in the house. I only welcome real change that brings progress. Heck, I don’t even mind a change that requires a step backwards so long I know I can move three steps forward. 

One of my philosophies in life is this; I choose the animal I know rather than the one I don’t. 

If I am uncertain, I would rather deal with the person I already know than the person I don’t know—low risk, and yes low reward—then spend some time to know the newbies.

Nevertheless, if there is a tad of certainty available, I will go with the new person with new ideas. I like change; I like innovation, I like creativity, and certainly, I like progress.  If I know the person that will replace the PM will have a better chance of taking us further then I will go for it. But if I think it’s just a recycled politician with no proven records but only a known commodity by connection, by default, or worse, a TRAPO (traditional politician),  then I would rather keep the incumbent.  The desire to change should not be a biggie in a democratic country like Samoa, truth is, everything is possible because, we, the people, collectively hold the power of change. 

The government is created by the people, for the people as famously coined by the great Abraham Lincoln.

On paper and in spirit, they, the political leaders work for us. Hence, political and government leaders can and will only have the political powers only if we, the people, say so through an election.

Political change has been the agenda of the government since. Fortunately, change over the year is mostly for good. I, for one, favours for switching where we drive; from the right to the left side of the road. And you can bet that I favour changing the dateline as well. It made sense then, it made sense now. 

Once again, political change is upon us by the recent confirmation of the new Head of State. And certainly, no one knows when a major change, in this scale and importance, will take place if ever, including the Prime Minister terms in office.

In the subject of limiting the PM’s term, pursuance of change in this magnitude must be led by people with cool minds. 

Cool minds, in this pursuit, is not enough I reckon!

Can you and I, in real sense, let reason, not emotion, direct our decision for change? Mix this with human decency to act decently especially the subject of this cry is our Prime Minister—the author of numerous developments in Samoa.

Every change, for good or ill, is an opportunity to move forward or backwards as a society depending on the kind of change.

Let us seek change peacefully, not by revolution, or by malice, nor by fear rather for the love of our people and the love of our beloved Samoa. 

Samoa, we are the gods of our democratic society; we don’t fear, we don’t hunger for power and we ‘don’t tremble at the prospect of a decision’ to change our Constitution, so bring it on!

R.C.F.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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