P.M. denies dictating for all

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has denied claims by his former Cabinet Minister that the current political system in Samoa is run by one man. 

Tuilaepa was responding to allegations by a senior Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata'ivao, who recently exited the Human Rights Protection Party and become an Independent M.P. 

The Prime Minister, during his radio 2AP programme, said the M.P. never criticised the current political system while he was inside the party. 

He said the return of the H.R.P.P. in Government at the end of the General Election was a decision made by the country based on their work; not a decision made by the M.Ps. 

Tuilaepa also denied claims that he makes decisions alone for the party and the Government. 

“The people voted for us based on the work we have done for the country,” he said. 

“If a member has forgotten about that then it tells you that he didn’t come in here to do any work he came in here to find benefits for himself.”

Tuilaepa said there is proof that the party makes decisions collectively, which he voices as a leader. 

He made reference to a conscience vote by M.Ps in Parliament last year to decide whether to support his motion to terminate the services of the President of Land and Titles Court after he was the subject of a criminal conviction.  

According to Tuilaepa when the President of L.T.C. “invoked” on the matter to be decided before Parliament as stipulated under the Constitution, the party met to discuss the issue. 

He explained the discussion by the H.R.P.P. on the issue was to decide the vote in Parliament on a conscience vote by M.P.s or to have a party vote. 

At the end, Tuilaepa said the party ruled to exercise each member's conscious vote and he moved a motion in parliament to terminate the services of the President that was not supported by several other M.Ps. 

“The decision was decided by all, I didn’t rule for all,” he said. 

“The claim by La’auli is wrong and is a lie. I don’t make decisions for everyone. The reason why I have touched on the things I did is so that everyone is aware of it and there is evidence to support what I’m saying.”

Last week, La’auli criticised the Prime Minister over what he describes as inconsistency in his leadership in decisions pertaining to matters affecting the Constitution. 

He said the matter concerning the recommendation to remove the President of the L.T.C., Fepuleai Atilla Ropati was opened for M.Ps to exercise their conscience vote. 

In contrast to the electoral changes, that also required an amendment to the Constitution, La’auli said the P.M. didn’t call for a party vote - which therefore doesn’t justify his sacking because he did not vote against it. 

Speaking about the constitutional amendment on electoral boundaries, Tuliaepa said the vote from La’auli against the changes did not comply with the decision made by the political party. 

He said that the policy from the political party is once an M.P. moves away from the party’s decision, their decision is final. 

“So the decision made by La’auli was his own decision [to vote against the Constitution amendment] and not what the party had agreed on,” he said. 

“His action tells you that he no longer wants to be in the H.R.P.P. and following that incident I wrote a note to the Deputy Prime Minister saying that La’auli has made his own decision. 

“He did not follow our bylaws and what we decided on.”

Furthermore, Tuilaepa said he does not decide for all in the party but his role as the leader is to keep everyone in line and to make decisions based on what the majority decides. 

He said once he fails to do his duty as the leader people will make fun of his leadership. 

The Prime Minister also responded to a revelation from La’auli that he would write to international parliamentary bodies to assist in his case of what he characterised as mistreatment by Tuilaepa for removing him from the party without justice.

The Former Speaker said his lawyer is preparing a letter for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the  International Parliamentary Union, and the UN Human Rights Parliamentary. 

But Tuilaepa said the decision by La’auli to write to the overseas agencies is uncalled for. 

The Prime Minister said the international Parliamentary bodies have no business on internal matters, saying Samoa has already become independent. 

In addition, he said there was a court matter in which the Chief Justice ruled on a case in which the President of a Society sued the Society for similar matter. 

Tuilaepa said the case was dismissed because matters concerning internal affairs of the Society shouldn’t be brought before the court and the same thing will happen to La’auli’s grievances overseas. 

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