Tautua Samoa Party returns for 2021
Samoa's former opposition party, the Tautua Samoa Party, has returned in what it says is rejuvenated form in the lead up to the 2021 General Election.
The relaunch of the Tautua Samoa Party was held on Friday at its Matautu headquarters, following four years of inactivity after the party failed to secure the eight seats in the last general election required for it to be recognised in parliament.
Led by the President Luagalau Dr. Wood Salele and the party's executive members, they are optimistic that the country is ready for change and new faces to take on the Government.
The party also launched its new party manifesto titled: “A new beginning: Serve to uphold justice and prosperity for all citizens of Samoa, be true, Samoa is founded upon God”.
With the Government ruling the country without an opposition party over the last four years, Luagalau said the need for people to present opposing views had found an outlet in anonymous internet postings which in turn brought a change to criminal libel laws.
He said the decision by the party to remain silent until now was to enable the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.), which was elected by the people in the last polls, to answer directly to the concerns raised by the public.
The launch comes after the Prime Minister, Tuliaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, recently made comments about new and old political parties being asleep until on the eve of a general election.
But the President of Tautua in response described the Prime Minister as a "colourful" man.
“He is a comedian at times, he’s a scientist and an engineer and at times he answers like a comedian,” he said.
“Our reply to him is a quote from MacBeth: Shakespeare that said 'it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'.
“We are ready to take over Government with 49 new candidates to run in the general election.”
Executive member and former Cabinet Minister, Le Tagaloa Pita also spoke about the political party being quiet for the past four years.
He said the people had spoken by electing 47 M.Ps from the H.R.P.P. in the 2016 general election, and it is a question for them if they are satisfied with the choice they made.
“What can Tautua do if the people have decided to elect the H.R.P.P. and the promises they made to the country,” said Le Tagaloa.
“Have they fulfilled those promises they made to you?
“The people voted for H.R.P.P. and it has concluded with 83 deaths from measles and a low immunisation coverage under the current Government.”
Le Tagaloa asked why the Prime Minister commented on the political party being asleep in the past years when his Government should be answering to concerns from the public.
“Let them answer to the country and its grievances,” he added.
“They say Samoa is founded on God but they moved to tax church ministers who are being fed by donations from the villages.
“But are they getting tax for the envelopes they get from cultural events.”
One of the party's key platforms announced by the party executives is to establish a medicare scheme and medical insurance policy for low income families.
According to Luagalau, the party will also raise wages for doctors and nurses to address the issue of brain drain, with medical practitioners moving overseas and thus reducing the number of local health workers.
In light of the measles epidemic, Luagalau said it is the cost of getting proper health care and specialist opinion on health, which discourages people from getting proper treatment.
He said the healthcare of the nation is crucial and everyone should get equal opportunity to those services.
“People should be given the option to decide to seek medical advice from public health or private practitioners,” said the President.
Asked how the party intends to fund the plans, Luagalau said there are avenues that the Government of the day can use to finance the policy.
He said revenue from Government ministries should be directed to priority areas and assistance from donor partners is also available.