Do thy eyes deceive thee?

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 15 January 2017, 12:00AM

Well there you go. He’s done it again. 

Today Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is back to his best brutal self. With eyes wide opened and that smug smile, he’s come out swinging at those defenseless media “idiots”. 

Their crime?

Well for merely doing their job.

In light of two disturbing videos showing young street vendors misbehaving on the streets of Apia, Tuilaepa turned up the heat on the media, blasting those irresponsible journalists.

He said they are so good at fabricating stories. Go on, turn to the front page of the newspaper you are reading and have a look.

Be entertained for this is Prime Minister Tuilaepa at his best. 

Now since he doesn’t name any particular media group, we offer ourselves as the sacrificial lambs. We do this knowing the Samoa Observer brought those stories to the fore at the beginning of the year to remind us about the reality of Samoa today. It looks beautiful from afar but its ugly at the core. 

And yet according to almighty P.M. Tuilaepa, the media is scratching for news. 

 “You see, it’s easy to bring back something you filmed many years ago, especially at this time when they are looking for some stories to fill the paper,” he said. He added that it is in the nature of the media, especially newspapers to make up stories. 

 “See we have lot of people here trying to look for some gossip,” he said referring to journalists present at his weekly media briefing. “So what happens is that when you search and cannot find a story, then you fabricate such stories.

“You go and bring back the footage that’s been stale in your files for months and then you re-run it like it’s something that happened yesterday.”

Well what a classic response from the leader of this nation. 

But then we would have been foolish to expect anything different, wouldn’t we? 

Is he not the leader who once said these street vendors will one day grow up to make mighty fine businessmen and businesswomen? 

Was it not Tuilaepa who said these kids are learning fine skills about business on the streets?

The reality is quite different though. Judging from what we’ve seen lately, these kids are quickly becoming some of the most aggressive criminals in Samoa. They are beating up innocent people on the streets. They are stealing from the shops whenever they have a chance. Which means that if the Police do their job, the only place these children are heading for is Tafaigata. 

This is happening today. Right here in Apia. You cannot deny it. And yet Prime Minister Tuilaepa does not think this is news. He instead accuses the media of making up stories. Is he serious?

Come to think of it, it’s not the first time he’s done it. 

He’s been at it for years.  Perhaps he gets the biggest kick from calling people “kids,” “idiots” and what have you.  Which reminds us that no so long ago, this is what he had to say about this newspaper: “Don’t be moved by the thoughts of kids who write for the (Samoa) Observer. They’re just kids. If you look at them, they’re so young and yet you are moved by it…”

Now, let me tell you something ladies and gentlemen; we don’t mind being called “kids.” And we certainly don’t mind being accused of fabricating stories to sell newspapers. It’s nothing new.

The truth is out there for all to see. You know it and I know it.

What’s sad is that while he’s been so busy calling people all sorts of names, the fact remains he hasn’t found his voice on “corrupt practises” and widespread abuse within his government that’s costing people of this country dearly. The abuse and the corruption that has led to these kids being on the streets.

These practises were highlighted in the Chief Auditor’s report and subsequently confirmed by the Officers of Parliament Committee.

So call us whatever you like Mr. Prime Minister. But when is your government going to act on that Chief Auditor’s report? 

What about the Officers of Parliament Committee report? 

What are you going to do about corruption, mismanagement and collussion highlighted in these reports?

No amount of name-calling will make this go away.

The people of this country are not stupid. 

They know what’s going on.

They can see from a mile away what the government is trying to do.

You see folks; quite often politics in Samoa is never about addressing the real issues. 

It’s about discrediting, belittling and mocking whoever has the guts to question this government.

It’s about playing the man, never the ball so that at the end of the day, we all get sucked in by the name-calling and forget about the glaring problems we see – including those street vendors.

Have another look Samoa at the issue of street vendors and tell us what you think. 

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is the truth and it is happening today. 

Whether P.M. Tuilaepa and his government want to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter. They know it deep down inside that they are responsible for this mess. 

And unless they stop playing these silly games - including lashing out at the media - it will only get worse. And who knows, one day someone might even be killed by these vendors?

That’s what we think anyway.

What about you? Don’t be afraid, share your thoughts with the rest of us.  

In the meantime, have a peaceful Sunday, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 15 January 2017, 12:00AM

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