H.R.P.P drama, Faumuina Wayne and election candidates at Petesa
It’s all happening down at the Petesa Hall. And the pages of the Samoa Observer of Wednesday 08 July 2020 exist to tell it all.
What with the La’auli Leuatea Schmidt saga refusing to go away, the sacking of the latest Member of Parliament from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) and candidates lining up to register for the upcoming General Elections, it’s all on. For such a small country, the daily developments are never dull.
Let’s start with the story titled “Honour your resignation, P.M. tells La’auli” on the front page. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa offered the latest twist in this rigmarole when he challenged the Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament to be a man of his word and honour the resignation he offered last week.
“He should carry out the resignation (he announced) when 200,000 people listened to Parliament,” Tuilaepa dared La’auli. “That is why I say that you can lie to the Court but you cannot lie in Parliament because it is being publicised again and again.”
It would be great for Prime Minister Tuilaepa to elaborate on what he meant when he talks about people who lie in Court. Who is he referring to? And what evidence does he have? This is a very serious allegation, especially against the integrity of the Judiciary.
Does the Prime Minister know something we don’t? Who knows?
What we do know is that La’auli walked out of Parliament last week while the Assembly was debating a Privilege and Ethics Committee report into his conduct. The Committee had found him guilty of misleading Parliament over a claim made in relation to a costly $300,000 generator. They recommended that he be suspended.
A few days later after La’auli left Parliament, he met with his constituency where they told him not to resign but stay in there and work towards forming a new political party.
This is where it becomes interesting and we can see why Tuilaepa is not letting it slide. La’auli has already resigned and the entire country saw it. The spanner in the works is that Parliament that day did not accept the verbal resignation, insisting that La’auli submits an official written resignation.
Now after the orders from Gagaifomauga No. 3, La’auli said he would not resign. But Prime Minister Tuilaepa disagrees saying La’auli should follow through with what he said. He added that the tactic of using the constituency is all a political ploy.
What does La’auli have to say about this? When he was contacted for a comment, La’auli said he would call a press conference to respond.
Let’s wait and see.
In the meantime, La’auli is not only one in trouble with the H.R.P.P. hierarchy. Faumuina Wayne Fong has been sacked. But the decision by Tuilaepa and the H.R.P.P. is hardly surprising. The only surprise is that it has taken this long.
"We don’t need members who don’t come in to support the Government, the H.R.P.P," Tuilaepa said. “You all know the reason [why he is sacked], he’s not a member of the party and that is reflected from his public statements.
“We don’t need that kind of member and his statements show that he is a member that only came in for what benefits him but not to support the Government…”
Looking at the treatment of La’auli and now Faumuina by Tuilaepa and the H.R.P.P., the mantra appears quite simple. You are either in or out. La’auli was booted for rocking the boat and going public with his grievances.
Faumuina has been testing the waters for a while and it’s not surprising he’s become the latest victim as Tuilaepa and the party tighten the screws and go into damage control mode.
Isn’t it ironic though that the only reason members are sacked from the H.R.P.P. is because of their “public statements”? Of all the disturbing developments we’ve been seeing in the Government, no one gets investigated or sacked for anything. It’s only when you rock the boat and question the official line party members have been told to toe. What happened to freedom of opinion and views? Is this not the party with a name that talks about the protection of human rights and freedom? Alarming, isn’t it?
But then again, you wouldn’t have known it if you looked at the long line of new candidates who have been lining up during the past couple of days at Petesa to fly the H.R.P.P. flag at the next election.
In some other places, the treatment of La’auli and now Faumuina would set off the alarm bells so that some of these candidates would think twice about getting involved. There are obvious breaches of human rights and possibly parliamentary rules in terms of how far a party can and cannot go.
But the treatment dished out by Tuilaepa and his H.R.P.P. to La’auli and Faumuina has become so normal in Samoa.
And all those candidates are big laui’a that they would know about this. Do they care though? That’s the question. Unless this has become so normal which is understandable when you consider the recent past.
And numbers don’t lie. As this nation prepares to go to the polls next year, we need to remember that H.R.P.P. has been in power for the past 38 years. Which means for that long, the people of Samoa have not known anything other than H.R.P.P. ruler ship. Abuse and all, that is all they know.
It takes time to break out of this cycle, just like someone who has been in an abusive relationship who simply cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What we are seeing in Samoa today is symptomatic of this.
But it’s not going to stay that way forever. It just can’t. Stay tuned!