Fiame says she won't join another party
Former Deputy Prime Minister and one of the longest-serving Members of Parliament for Lotofaga, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, has no plans to join another political party.
She also confirmed that she won’t be joining the newly established opposition party, Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi [F.A.S.T.].
Former Speaker and Cabinet Minister, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, moved to set up the F.A.S.T. party after he verbally resigned from the Parliament in June.
However, the former Deputy P.M. said she doesn’t plan on switching parties and wants to complete this term.
“Well not now because the implication of that is that I lose my seat before the end of the term.
I don’t want to do that, I want to see myself finish this term. I want to stand next time [in the 2021 General Election].”
The veteran M.P. for Lotofaga said rumours of her joining F.A.S.T. was the subject of a discussion she had with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi in the past.
“The Prime Minister and I had a bit of a chat about that,” she said.
“So my best choice and the one that I am comfortable with is to become an Independent Member [of Parliament].”
Following her resignation from Cabinet last Friday afternoon, La’auli announced that the party invites the former deputy leader of Human Rights Protection Party to lead them.
“Fiame [was] the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and we want to see her become the first female Prime Minister of Samoa,” La’auli said.
“I knew this day would come, where she has had enough.
“Fiame was born to lead.
“And I am not surprised with her decision to resign, because this was a long time coming.”
Fiame said she knew La’auli and his father who was also a former Cabinet Minister, Polataivao Fosi Schmidt.
However, she emphasised that people make their choices when it comes to political parties.
“So I think for me, I would like to use this time which is a downtime just to see where things are going.
“And that is to see what would best serve my work as a parliamentarian if I get re-elected next term.”
The veteran M.P. for Lotofaga said she has already informed her constituency that she wants to run again in the upcoming general election.
When asked an hour after she resigned how she felt, Fiame responded that she is free.
Asked to explain, she said she can now express herself freely about the bills without being constrained.
“When you are in a party it's sort of towing the party line going along with the Cabinet,” she said.
“I’ve been there for so long and you can do that to continue the work of the Government.
“But I have always thought since I became Member of Parliament, especially with the party system, if there will ever be a time that this will happen that I cannot sort of carry the party line or the Government line.
“It just so happens to be this one [this time].”
According to Fiame, the three legislation that proposed to reshape the judiciary came from the Cabinet and she cannot stay if she did not support it.
She is referring to the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bills 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020.
The former Deputy P.M. said her opposition to the three bills did not mean she planned to speak ill of anyone.
According to Fiame it is her hope that a positive resolution will come out of it.
“These bills, if we are not careful, we are really going to play with the legal basis upon which our Government is based,” she said.
“But I think the message is we all really have to think seriously about this.
“It’s not just a matter of what the party wants.
“And because we are the ones that are going to be making the decision [on the bills] they shouldn’t take it lightly.
“I can’t influence what they [Members of Parliament] think, I think it's important because I don’t think there has been much discourse within Members of Parliament on these…”
Fiame remains as a Member of Parliament for Lotofaga, the constituency that she has represented since 1985.