It is easily forgotten by some that if the H.R.P.P. did not want Tuilaepa as their leader, they could easily get rid of him from the Prime Ministership.
It is very easy to sack him from his post as Prime Minister.
It doesn’t involve a convoluted impeachment process that takes months or years like in a presidential system. All it takes is a simple vote of no confidence in parliament.
You cannot remain P.M. for that long without your fellow colleagues voting you into the position. Remember also that every election brings in many new H.R.P.P. M.P.s who were not there in the last parliament.
Usually 40-50% of parliament is voted out at every election. So the P.M. must work with new ministers and new backbenchers in his party to gain their confidence and trust.
You cannot do that for 18 years without being a good leader.
There are other very high-ranking paramount chiefs in his party who are big fish in their own right. So you cannot simply dictate to these people as if they are inferior rank.
Leadership demands the use of the ears as well as the mouth. Yes, the anti-party hopping legislation has been used to stop M.P’s hopping to the other party as soon as they don’t get a portfolio like in the past but in a developing country, you cannot afford to have unstable governments.
Those M.P.s should be made to go back to the people who elected them under the banner of one party to ask them for permission to go back to parliament under the banner of another party.
It is wholly unfair on the voters for an M.P. to change his party as soon as s/he gets into parliament. Imagine that happening in N.Z. or the U.S.? It would be a disgrace. The people would be outraged that their M.P. has betrayed them.
One thing I notice is that the H.R.P.P. votes in the position of Deputy P.M. so that is out of the P.M’s hands.
Another thing I notice is that the ministerial portfolios are always shifted around to give different people (and their districts) a turn.
In other countries, the Finance Minister remains the same for many, many years.
In Samoa, the Finance Minister changes after every new term to rotate this big position around for different M.Ps to have a turn.
The other big positions are rotated around as well, for example the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure. There is a fairness in the rotation system that most of the H.R.P.P. caucus agrees with.
People who have had their time in the Cabinet could spend the next term without a portfolio. Whilst many M.P.’s who miss out may not enjoy it, they are wise to wait their turn because they can see that the rotation system does work. O oe nei ao a’u taeao.