Vaai accepts defeat with dignity

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines. 

First Published: 29 March 1979

The Opposition Leader, Hon Vaai Kolone, in his moving address yesterday at the Fono House following the election of Hon Tupuola Efi  as Prime Minister, turned defeat into victory. 

A self-made man accustomed to challenge Hon Vaai, in his speech was proving possible the impossible. He was showing that a man of dignity could accept defeat as easily as he could victory. Hon Vaai did not hesitate in praising Hon Tupuola Efi and his supporters for the work they have put into the struggle for prime minister.

Devoid of ill-feeling, Hon Vaai’s memorable speech conveyed nothing but a sincere belief in the parliament of which he is, and has been a member. His is a conviction that the country’s leaders, however mis-branded they might have been, have in common a sincere responsibility for a common cause.

One of the oldest serving politicians, Hon Vaai’s dedications to his country could not be easily questioned. His message is that the leaders remain unswayed in their responsibilities to their country. 

Hon. Vaai in his address, made no hesitation in wishing the new government well. His unswerving good intentions would have done a less dignified man, great service. In a packed house of attentive listeners, Hon. Vaai’s address was deeply felt. His voice carried authority, a voice unaffected by defeat or even by victory.

He wished the Head of State well and then the Member of the Council of Deputies, Hon. Tupua Tamasese. On Hon. Tupuola’s election as Prime Minister, he said You are now at the helm of Samoa’s boat for the next three years.

Choose your crew well so that Samoa might have a better tomorrow.  Hon. Vaai expressed his gratitude for his own supporters. The end of his speech was heralded by a loud applause.

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