Perhaps they can make one last amendment

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 April 2016, 12:00AM

The undeniable reality is this. Either the Samoan psyche about forgiveness and unity is something the world has yet to discover or we are simply an incredible society that condones wrongdoing, corruption and the sort of behviour that would normally land some people in jail.

Whichever school of thought you and I subscribe to, it won’t matter that much.

It will not change the fact that the developments of the past few weeks locally and internationally will leave an indelible mark on Samoa’s reputation in the eyes of the world. 

Indeed, the twists and turns in the developments of the election petitions we’ve been following very closely this week have especially been very interesting to say the least. They would have certainly raised eyebrows in many places with the idea that something is very odd in this democractic paradise.

The fact that four petitions alleging corrupt practices during the General Election were withdrawn – some under dramatic circumstances – is both amazing and awkward.

They are wonderful and terrible. 

It’s Christian and yet so unchristian. Forgiveness is one thing but condoning wrongdoing and encouraging such bad behavior is quite another isn’t it?

And are the decisions in line with Samoan culture? 

Yes and no. Our traditions of ava fatatata, va fealoai and tofa mamao tell us that such decisions are not beyond the realm of possibilities but does that mean our culture is corrupt? Is it not our Samoan culture to do the right thing? 

The last time we checked, our forbears left us a culture that promotes justice, morals, ethics, principles and decency.

Which raises another question, is the concept of election a Samoan thing? 

Is democracy a Samoan concept? Is the judiciary a Samoan concept? Are the laws governing the country today – in this case the elections - Samoan ideals? 

The answer is an emphatic no.  

So why are we applying Samoan culture to things that are not Samoan? 

Where is decency in all this? 

Where is justice? 

Where do we see the face of God in all this? 

We accept that these are tough, thought-provoking questions. 

But they are necessary and relevant to ask at this very moment, especially in light of the developments we have seen.

The legitimising and legalising of alleged corrupt practices during the election under the guise of culture and for the sake of good relations is not something that should be taken lightly. 

You and I, as guardians of our culture, values and morals, we have a responsibility to leave a legacy for the future generations of this country to be proud of. 

We have to set examples we want them to emulate. 

Are these examples to be proud of? So is it okay to bribe and buy voters to get into Parliament then? Is that the new standard? Is this the legacy we want to leave behind for the future generations of this country?

We’ve said this before and we will say it again, if that is the case, why do we need a Court system? Why do we need laws? Who needs a Parliament then to create laws when some of those lawmakers should not be there? 

We remind once again that in Samoa on a daily basis, ordinary folks are being jailed and held accountable for very minor infringements. 

Why can’t we just forgive and forget all lawbreakers then? Why don’t we just abolish the Justice system if all that we need to do to solve the issues is to mediate, have a simple handshake and quote scriptures from the Bible?

It could be that this is the new normal for Samoan politics.

The common factor in all that we’ve seen in terms of election petitions is that it involves members of the H.R.P.P. 

Which raises an idea. With the power they have, this government can perhaps add one more amendment to the colourful list of amendments they’ve made to this country’s laws over the years.

They should consider changing the Electoral laws to exempt all members of the H.R.P.P from petitions and election corruption – or any other form of corruption for that matter. 

There is nothing there to stop them from doing that. They have the numbers and certainly all the power in the world. 

What do you think?

Have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 April 2016, 12:00AM

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