M.P. A’eau fights for Parliament democracy

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 09 November 2016, 12:00AM

The Deputy Leader of the Tautua Samoa Party and Veteran Member of Parliament for Falealupo, A’eau Peniamina Leavaise’eta, has made a promise.

As long as he is in Parliament, there will still be an opposition party. And he has vowed to continue the right for a democratic Samoa contrary to the fact the country has become a one-party state.

A’eau made the comments after being asked about the lack of opposing views during recent Parliament sessions. So much so the October session for example only lasted half a day.

But A’eau said this doesn’t mean there is no opposition.

“We are on our own,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday. 

“When we feel that there is something critical then we do make a stand and voice our concerns during Parliament. We are not suppressed and we do speak up when we believe something is not right.”

The Veteran M.P. said the worst part of what is happening today Parliament is the H.R.P.P has control of when to call Parliament sittings.

He explained that is up to them when to meet because they have the majority and they have that advantage.

A’eau rubbished claims from the Prime Minister that aside from Cabinet Ministers and their Associates, all other M.Ps are opposition members.

“That is a lie,” he insisted. 

“How can the M.Ps who are not Cabinet Ministers speak against their leader when they have the responsibility to support their party? Those M.Ps are not stupid to speak up against their leader.”

 On recent October Parliament sitting there were three bills that were introduced under Certificate of Urgency and passed without objection. 

During parliament discussions there were fewer than five M.Ps that raised concerns about the legislations. Others that did speak voiced their support. 

Parliament moved swiftly in passing the bills and tabled 14 reports before it adjourned at 12.26pm on that day until its next sitting in December 20th. 

M.P. for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai raised concerns of the lack of constructive views in parliament to challenge cabinet and their decisions.

“To me every M.P should prepare themselves during parliament discussions and raise issues to advice government,” said Olo. 

“The sad truth about our parliament today is after a few comments on the bill its then passed urgently. It’s sad to see M.Ps sitting there and agreeing to every legislation when some (MPs), I don’t think understand what was tabled.

“There is no point (of having parliament) when they just agree to it and that is it.”

Olo also urged that M.Ps especially those who are new that should not take it to heart that their opposing views will mean they are going against their leader.

“There is no such thing called foolish objections,” said Olo. 

“One should stands up and voice constructive arguments that can assist the government in making the right decision. But if they keep silent knowing they should give some advice then it is no good.”

The M.P. accepts that the election was the people’s choice and fears that the government will go on without being challenged with its plans. 

“I reason why I say this is because it will mean less chance of better performance,” he said. 

“There is no more Opposition to check on the ruling party, to prevent government from misusing their power and question their decision from time to time. 

“It is clear that no government is perfect and I am worried that H.R.P.P. will go ahead with whatever they want to do without a challenge. 

“They don’t care whether their decision is right or wrong.”

Olo added that it is everyone’s job now to monitor the government and express their views through the media “because in parliament there is only three M.Ps and we have limited time to express our views.”

 Weeks after their victory in the election demolishing the Opposition party, Tuilaepa said there is nothing they can do if members of the public have expressed their desire through their votes. 

“Even though there are not enough oppositions (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.”

Tuilaepa told the media at the time that there are checks and balance mechanisms in place to ensure that the government is accountable. 

“There is a check and balance that cannot be taken away,” Tuilaepa assured. 

“What you have to remember is when you talk about good governance, transparency and accountability, those are always the bait used by oppositions.

“There are checks in the government to catch those who do bad things. 

“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.”

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 09 November 2016, 12:00AM

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