Making the one party system work
The Member of Parliament for Salega East Olo Fiti Va’ai claims independent members are still waiting for the Prime Minister for a decision about the status of non-H.R.P.P. members.
And while many have lamented the demise of the two party system, Olo has pointed out that it is not all bad news is M.P.s have the courage of their convictions to vote according to the validity of an idea rather than stick with the party line.
According to the law, eight members of parliament are needed to form an Opposition Party.
And so Olo has pointed out that this means there is no more Tautua Party because three members falls far short of the minimum number to form a party.
“We are still waiting to see if the prime minister will decide to recognize us in any way or carry on as a one-state party,” said Olo.
He said it seems like parliament is going back to the beginning of independence, when matai’s only, had the right to vote.
“You speak for your own constituency, and you speak independently” he said.
He claims there will be fewer and less vigorous debates because there are no other political parties in parliament.
This he believes that was a strength that they had in previous parliaments. “Debates will be weak because we now have a one-state party government.”
The lack of a formal Opposition party will be something new for the country and for members, Olo said.
“No one today was there during the time when Samoa had a one-state party.
But he was philosophical about making it work.
“If they did it back in those days, why can’t we do it now?”
“But the M.P.s should have the courage to debate what is good for this government, without thinking which party they belong to,” said Olo.
Olo said all Members of Parliament should be free to talk; if an idea is wrong then they should oppose it but if it’s good, then support it.
“We still have to debate with the Cabinet Ministers and the Associate Ministers.”
As for the new decision by the Prime Minister to have only one associate minister for each portfolio, Olo said he supports the decision.
“This is also a challenge for the Associate Ministers. They should do their jobs because there is a big possibility that they can be replaced by the other M.P.s.”
Olo also said that with the decision to have only one associate minister per Ministry, they are no longer part of Parliamentary Committees but are simply Members of Parliament.