Oath to protect who? Samoa or the H.R.P.P?
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, is not wrong to remind lawyers working for the Government about their "signed and sealed employment oath" to serve Samoa to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
But the shoe could have easily been switched between the Prime Minister and the Government lawyers when they met in the Cabinet room last week. As the leader of this nation, the lawyers could have reminded him that his “signed and sealed employment oath” is not to himself, a political party or self-interest but to the people of Samoa who placed him in that position.
In such a tumultuous time as what we are seeing in Samoa today, the leaders of this nation, including the Prime Minister, need to remember what they promised to God and the country when they were placed in those positions.
Many of them have been there for far too long that perhaps they have forgotten.
Let us remind them today that as Members of Parliament, they swore an oath to represent the people of Samoa and what is in their best interest. In other words, they are suppose to do what members of the public demand of them. In all the decisions they make, unless it benefits all Samoans, they should refrain from anything that remotely risks the prospects of this nation.
Which means they should desist from placing their own interest, that of their peers, friends, relatives, business mates and political affiliations first and do what is best for Samoa. They should insist without ceasing on the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance.
We say this because there is reason to believe the Government of today is straying from their promise to place the best interest of Samoa first, foremost and above all else.
And we are not just talking about laws and legislations they have been making. Aside from the three bills that threaten the rule of law, the three branches of Government in a normal democracy and the Judiciary, it must be stated that the way the Government has been behaving lately is extremely concerning. The autocratic manner with which things have become cannot be ignored.
How else can one explain the treatment of Members of Parliament, let alone members of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) by the leadership? Think of the the threat to sack La’auli Leuatea Polataivao, the treatment of Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and most recently the tactic being used against Faumuina Wayne Fong? What happened to allowing people’s basic freedom to express an opinion?
Besides, we are not talking about just any ordinary people here. We are talking about highly esteemed Members of Parliament, tamali’i ma tupu o le atunu’u (paramount chiefs and kings of Samoa) who were elected by their constituents to speak on their behalf. We find it abhorrent that they could be treated the way they have and yet some people think this is normal.
If Members of Parliament are treated with such disdain, what hope is there for others? Can you imagine being a public servant sitting there with taped up lips? The loss of voice and free speech in Parliament, the public and by and large in a country that is supposed to be democratic and free, speaks volumes about how far we have declined as a democratic society.
But then these are the hallmarks of this Government today. Which is a pity because they have done so much good. The question we must ask is how did we get to where we are today? How has Samoa gone from a country with an undisputed reputation for respecting the rule of law to one being spoken of in the same breath as gun-toting Fiji and others who are of similar ilk?
Everyone will have an opinion. But we can’t help but think about claims by the former Head of State and Prime Minister, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, when he was asked to respond to claims by Tuilaepa that it was under his leadership in the 1980s when Samoa became bankrupt.
Tui Atua said the real reason the Government is acting the way it has been is because it’s broke and desperate. He blamed Tuilaepa’s pride and the Government getting its priorities wrong with Samoa Airways and millions wasted on white elephant projects that will only cost more to maintain.
“The issue here is these big loans and the massive debt,” Tui Atua said. “Think about it, if they have gone as far as reaching out to dirty money, that is the last resort. It tells us there is a big problem; otherwise they wouldn’t have gone this far.”
What dirty money is Tui Atua talking about? Well, Samoa remains on the European Union’s Blacklist of tax haven countries. It’s a major embarrassment.
“The meaning of laundry money is dirty money from theft, murder and the like,” Tui Atua continued. “Their intention is they bring it to Samoa to wash them. Laundering money means they bring dirty money and they use our banks to clean them.
“So what do you say about this? Is this wisdom, using dirty money? Are those the signs of blessings and prosperity they’re talking about?
“Look at the world over; every day on the paper (Samoa Observer) people are warning and opposing what the Government is doing. Why are they doing this? Not all is well. It is because the government is in turmoil, including inside their own party.”
As usual, Tuilaepa and the Government will dismiss the claims from Tui Atua. He will continue to discredit him calling him all sorts of names until the cows come home. It’s nothing new.
Which is beside the point. The real question is, would Tuilaepa have acted the way he has been if all were roses in the ruling administration? Would Members of Parliament be subjected to such bullying and threatening tactics if all was well within the H.R.P.P.?
And that takes us back to the question of oath. Who did Tuilaepa and Members of Parliament swore before God to protect? Samoa or the H.R.P.P.?
Let’s remember our leaders in your Sunday prayers today. Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!