Have they forgotten that “o Samoa ua uma ona tofi?”

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

What is it with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s administration these days? Are they in such a rush to get somewhere? 

And what is so wrong with Samoa today that they feel they need to change everything?

Judging from the speed with which they are turning things in this country upside down, one can’t help but wonder if there is a method to thy madness.

Surely there must be an explanation. Whatever that is, you get the feeling that perhaps these changes are about creating a new legacy. 

What that legacy is, we shall wait and see. But it’s just not normal. 

We say this because from where we stand, nothing sacred in Samoa is being spared. Everything – including our church and cultural treasurers - are being turned upside down at the whim of the ruling administration.

It started a few years ago when they tore down that old Parliament fale at Mulinu’u. What they did then was significant and sad because that was the beginning of multiple changes so that today, our Constitution is almost unrecognizable. 

And it continues to be changed as we speak. 

Our ancestors would be turning in their graves at the alarming number of amendments that have been made. What with the significant amendments to the sacred role of the Head of State, the decision to tax the clergy, customary lands, when are they going to stop?

Maybe they won’t.

Now the latest example of this madness was being debated in Parliament yesterday. This time the Government is making a raft of changes to the Electoral Act that would completely overhaul the local electoral process.

Among the biggest changes is the plan to increase the Electoral constituencies from 50 to 51. The removal of Urban Seats is another big one.

But perhaps the most sensitive one of them all is the decision to redefine the voting boundaries so that where people cast their votes are now determined by geographical location as opposed to the way our forebears designed Samoa.

Which means that in the past where people in Upolu with traditional ties to Savai’i could vote for one M.P., they will no longer be able to do that.

For example, the people of Leauva’a will now vote together with residents of Aleisa. As for Salamumu, they will no longer vote in Gagaemauga No. 2 but rather they will cast their votes in one of Safata’s seats. 

According to Prime Minister Tuilaepa, there is nothing to be alarmed about. He rejected suggestions that they are meddling with Samoa’s traditional boundaries, saying the change is merely that of the “working title” for the Member of Parliament while the traditional and cultural elements remain unaffected.

That’s a load of hogwash if you ask me.

You cannot meddle with voting boundaries and expect people to believe all that rubbish the Government is saying that there is nothing to worry about. 

These changes are redefining the boundaries of Samoa. You are meddling with history and treasures that belong to villages, constituencies and families. 

Have these people not heard of the phrase “e mamala measina a Samoa”?

Ladies and gentlemen, some of these changes are absolutely ludicrous. 

Back when the changes were first mooted, a senior Member of Parliament and representative of Gagaemauga No. 2, Fa’aso’otauloa Pati Taulapapa, cautioned Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

 “The move is inappropriate,” he said.  “I believe Samoa has already been chosen (O Samoa ua uma ona tofi). Samoa wasn’t chosen by numbers when our forefathers designed the boundaries, it was done through mutual respect and the fact that everyone has their own destiny.

“I think it is only fair that the Ali’i ma Faipule of villages affected have the final say in these matters.”

Lastly, Faaso’otauloa added: “Also I am concerned about the traditional salutations of villages and constituencies. What are they going to do about that?”

He then called for caution and asked the Electoral Office to slow down with what they are trying to do. 

We doubt they would listen.

Have a great Tuesday Samoa , God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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