P.M. adamant La’auli sacked himself

The leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.), Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is adamant La’auilalemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao removed himself  from the party.

Tuilaepa, who is also the Prime Minister, said the H.R.P.P. need to be firm in its decision against La’auli now otherwise “this will be the beginning of the destruction of this party.”

He revealed that the Leadership Committee of the H.R.P.P. met last Friday where they endorsed La’auli’s vote against the Constitutional amendments by the Government in Parliament as his “resignation.”

“We have an agreement, a written agreement,” Tuilaepa told Radio Samoa during an interview in Auckland where he is attending a bilateral meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

“Before you become a member, we have an agreement where you pledge your allegiance to the party. That agreement is your commitment that you will not do anything to harm the party. So once you do something to harm the party, you have made a decision on yourself.”

Tuilaepa insisted that every member of the H.R.P.P. is aware of this and when the H.R.P.P. Committee met last Friday, the decision was quite simple.

“When matters pertaining to the Constitution are raised where amendments are needed, no one is allowed to (vote against the party’s position). This is where this agreement comes into play,” Tuilaepa explained.

“It’s quite clear in the agreement that when you enter the party, you will support the party and do what the party wants and that you will not embarrass the political party. 

“This is why the H.R.P.P. is strong because of its unity. If we don’t do this now, this will be the beginning of the destruction of this party because others will say; well nothing has been done to him so I can try too.”

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When Parliament voted for the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018, Tuilaepa said members of the H.R.P.P. were aware it was a party vote. They also knew it was an issue involving the Constitution so no one was to oppose it.

 “This (H.R.P.P.) law applies to when the Constitution is the subject of discussions and amendments. 

“The Government doesn’t just come up with any amendment to the Constitution, we only do it when it is absolutely necessary in the view of the Government. It is why if you decide to vote against, that is you officially informing the party you want to leave and you don’t want to be involved anymore. Which is exactly what was done.

“So when we met, we said we accept La’auli’s vote, he did it knowingly. That was his way of submitting his resignation and we have accepted it. And that’s the meaning of the letter given to him.”

Tuilaepa added that H.R.P.P’s doesn’t always vote as a party in Parliament – unless it’s a Constitutional amendment. But he said the rule is only relaxed when “I say it’s an open vote and everyone can vote according to his or her conscience. There have been times when that opportunity has been exercised.” 

The Prime Minister also defended the Constitutional amendments, which the Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament voted against, saying they are decisions made by a “statesman.”

“There is always the temptation for an M.P. to go alone, especially if it’s something that would benefit him personally. That is selfish,” Tuilaepa said. 

“When you come into the party, you have to put aside your selfish opinion and support things for the good of the entire country. 

“Most MPs only want what’s best for their constituencies but in the party setting, the scope is a lot wider, you have to look at what’s best for the country. So you are not just thinking about your constituency but do what’s best for all the constituencies.

“It means your vision is wider; you become a statesman more than a politician. With a politician, all he worries about is to win the next election, but a statesman considers things that are useful for the next generation.”

Earlier this week, La’auli called a press conference where he said he has not resigned from the H.R.P.P. and he has no intention of resigning.

He said the decision on his future rests with his constituents, the people who voted him in, whom he is planning to meet next Monday.

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