Dictatorship claim rejected

The leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P), Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is adamant his government is not a dictatorship.

Tuilaepa made the point yesterday after he led the H.R.P.P to a near wipe out of the Tautua Samoa Party in the General Elections, where they snapped up 44 of the 49 seats on offer. Only two seats were won by the Tautua Party with three others being held by independents. 

According to Tuilaepa, there is nothing they can do if members of the public have expressed their desire through their votes. 

 “Even though there are not enough opposition (M.Ps), four is enough,” he said. 

“What can we do if this is what the country wants? If there is no Opposition, then the other members from our side can speak as Opposition members.

“There are many ways to skin a cat.”

 About claims that the ruling party has become a dictatorship, Tuilaepa said such thoughts are just “words from academics that are floating on the air.” 

He assured that there are checks and balance mechanisms in place to ensure that does not happen in Samoa.

“That is not new. In this political party, there are intense internal discussions about all matters,” he said.

“There is a check and balance that cannot be taken away. What you have to remember is when you talk about good governance, transparency and accountability, those are always the bait used by oppositions.”

According to the Prime Minister, any government would need the elements in order for them to be officially recognised by foreign countries to give assistance. 

 He assured that the guidelines are crucial in any leadership of a country whether there is an Opposition or not. 

Tuilaepa recalled a speech he made in Savai’i where he warned candidates that if they want to enter Parliament to use the position for personal gains, they should think again. 

“There are checks in the government to catch those who do bad things,” he said.  “There are guidelines for those who do good things and likewise for those that do wrong. They will be thrown to Tafa’igata (Prison) and there have been Cabinet Ministers who have been there.”

Tuilaepa said there are multiple government offices to monitor the performance of the government. He referred to the Audit office, the Ombudsman’s Office, Ministry of Police and the Courts.  “There are audit principles,” he said.  “If anyone is affected by any decision made by a corporation, they can take it to the Ombudsman to investigate.

“There are many matters being referred to the Ombudsman which is a practice that other governments don’t do. 

“These people talk about anti corruption which is nice but who will lead it – it would be the same people (from Courts).”

Tuilaepa reminded that there is even a Court case pending between the Speaker of the House, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao and Peseta Tevaga Vaifou. 

 Yesterday, the H.R.P.P. started a week-long camp at their headquarters, Maota i Petesa, until the official count is over.

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