Lotofaga shocked by resignation, stands by Fiame

The Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa's sudden move to resign from Cabinet on Friday came as a shock to her constituency, the Mayor of Lotofaga confirmed.

Approached by the Samoa Observer soon after the news broke on Friday afternoon, Fa'atupunu'u Nu'uolevasa said he was caught off guard by the news that Fiame had tendered her resignation to the Prime Minister on Friday.

But Fa'atupunu'u said that whatever their Member of Parliament had decided to do "she has our support."

Fa'atupunu'u declined to comment further. A constituent meeting will go ahead on Monday or possibly sooner to discuss the implications of the move.

The sudden resignation comes after Fiame publicly opposed the three bills currently before Parliament proposing widespread changes to the nation's Judiciary and Lands and Titles Court.

The opposition was presented in a written submission delivered by Fiame and backed by her constituency before the Special Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday this week.

The next day, Tuilaepa rebuked Fiame's views saying her opposition has sealed her fate in Government. 

"I don’t mind if [she] doesn’t approve,” he said. “That is her decision which means she is no longer with this party," he said on Thursday.

Although this is not the first time the word resignation has meddled with the Deputy Prime Minister Fiame.

In April, during a heated exchange, the P.M. Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi suggested to Fiame to consider resigning.

Fiame questioned whether she had been compared to the “devil” by the Prime Minister, in a debate that became about Ministers' rights to make public criticism but began as a review of amendments to the Electoral Bill 2020.

After she spoke about the amendments, Tuilaepa said that Fiame, and any other Cabinet Minister, should resign if they had objections to proposed legislation. The Prime Minister said that speaking critically was something that should be reserved for the Cabinet.

She rebuked the suggestion then.

But on Friday, Fiame said she would not tolerate sitting in Cabinet knowing that she does not support the Government's proposal to make the Lands and Titles Court autonomous, along with other major issues raised during the Lotofaga Consultation.


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