P.M. calls Olo "king of the crooks"

Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai, has brushed aside being branded "king of the crooks" by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Mailielegaoi, saying the allegation was cheap and uncalled for.

Tuilaepa made the allegation in Parliament on Tuesday during the discussion of the Electoral Act 2019. 

Asked for a comment, Olo said if the Speaker of Parliament was serious about maintaining the dignity of the House and Members of Parliament, he should pay attention to Prime Minister Tuilaepa's language in Parliament.

"I am used to his (Tuilaepa's) way of communicating," said Olo. "How many times has he come up with bad names to call me with? Nonetheless, I still have the utmost respect for him because he is the leader of the country. 

"I'll let the country be the judge of whatever is being said in Parliament. The Speaker of the House is always reminding us about the Standing Orders in Parliament. This includes the language we use (in Parliament) and the demeaning of another Member inside the Parliament House. 

"But the Prime Minister has called me "the king of the crooks" and saluted me. What does that say?"

Tuilaepa made the comment during the discussion of the Electoral Act 2019. Olo had questioned the amendment which stops M.P.s from becoming Independent should they wish to leave the political party they had signed up for.

This irked Tuilaepa who said he was surprised that Olo still did not understand after a pre-Parliament briefing on Monday where the amendments were explained. The Prime Minister said it is impossible to make Olo understand because he doesn't want to.

"This means that even if we explain the Act more than ten times this morning, he still won't understand," said Tuilaepa. 

Tuilaepa then took a jab at the Chairman of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua ua Tasi party, Laaulialemelietoa Leuatea Schmidt.

"Why don't you ask La'auli?" Tuilaepa demanded Olo. "You should always ask your leader to explain these things to you? Or ask Fiame who is beside you."

At that point, La'auliealemalietoa objected. He reminded Parliament that Olo is not a member of F.A.ST. and that he remains an independent M.P. 

La'auli accused Tuilaepa of forcing Olo to a by-election, by linking him to F.A.S.T.

But Tuilaepa would not back down. He returned to the floor and accused Olo of lying and manipulating members of F.A.S.T.

"He kept saying that he is not a member of F.A.S.T. but then he goes on National Television for interviews wearing a F.A.S.T. t-shirt," Tuilaepa said.  "You see that's what you call being a crook."

It was then that the Prime Minister turned to Olo and saluted him, saying, "I salute you, you are the king of the crooks."

The comment was met by laughter in Parliament.

Olo stood up and saluted back at Tuilaepa.

"I salute you back," Olo said, "but the way I see it, F.A.S.T. is way better than the H.R.P.P."

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Olo said that as the leader of the country, the Prime Minister should be mindful of what he says in Parliament.

"He should be careful of what he says because he is violating the Standing Orders of Parliament and also the Constitution of Samoa," Olo said. 

"It is clear in the Constitution that nobody should humiliate and disparage citizens of the country. As the Prime Minister of this country, he should consider what he says wisely as people look up to him. He is supposed to be a model for the people of Samoa that's why he should be mindful of the things he says. 

"Because people will start copying the way he talks and how he looks down on other citizens of the country."

Olo then referred to people's behaviour on Facebook and other social media sites. 

"Look at what's happening on Facebook, there are a couple of Facebook accounts who are defaming Samoans and humiliate citizens of the country, it's what they have learnt from the Prime Minister," Olo said. 

"He has set a bad example for the people of Samoa, giving out the impression that it's okay to be rude towards other citizens. So even if he tries his best to teach me his way, I will never be able to do the things he does because my parents disciplined me right from the start. 

"They taught me how to behave well, be respectful and not to be rude.  Back in the days, my father's advice for me was that, if I end up being a Member of Parliament, I should follow the laws and that's what I am doing now."

Olo said he was honored to have the Prime Minister salute him. 

"Blessed art thou that the leader of this country has saluted me. I am happy because of that. 

"A policeman has never saluted me before, but now that the Prime Minister has saluted me, my advice to all the policemen is, wherever you see me, make sure you salute me because the Prime Minister has set that example."

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