Afemata Palusalue registers for F.A.S.T.
Former Member of Parliament and Minister, Afemata Palusalue Fa'apo II, will be contesting the Safata 1 constituency, for new opposition party Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.)
The 64-year-old confirmed he would fly the F.A.S.T. banner after completing his registration process at the Electoral Office on Friday at the S.N.P.F. Plaza.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Afemata said he was honoured to be joining others who had similar experiences with the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) of which he was formerly a member.
La'aul Leuatea Schmidt, former Minister and Speaker for the H.R.P.P. founded F.A.S.T.
A former Cabinet Minister in the H.R.P.P, Palusalue quit and joined the opposition Tautua Samoa party where he later became the leader.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1996 and served as Parliamentary Undersecretary to the Minister of Justice.
After being re-elected in 2001, he was appointed to Cabinet, first as Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, and then as Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
After the 2006 election, he became associate Minister of Finance. Palusalue left the governing Human Rights Protection Party in March 2008 and joined the opposition as an independent Member of Parliament.
In May 2009 he was one of nine Tautua parliamentarians declared to have resigned their seats under an anti-party hopping law.
Despite acknowledging the reigning Human Rights Political Party’s (H.R.P.P.) many good works for Samoa, Afemata said there was much that needed correcting and improving in the current Government.
Afemata said that the courage shown by Former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who resigned from the party of Government last month and La’auli played a role in his decision to run again for office.
“In my belief, [F.A.S.T.] is a party that will ensure everyone has a voice. All members’ voices will be recognised, rather than the one-man gang that we now see,” he said.
“This is exactly why I decided to leave Tautua Samoa and come to work together with my fellow current Members of Parliament.”
Afemata believes that F.A.S.T. will make good on the promise of H.R.P.P.: transparency and accountability.
“We continue to notice that there remains to be a lot of questions arising, despite their many good works, there are also many bad areas, particularly in law-making processes,” he said.
Afemata pointed out areas for immediate reform as the three Lands and Titles Court reform bills, the Electoral Amendment Act as well as the law requiring the taxation of church ministers.
“This is one law that does not align at all with my beliefs as a Christian, considering our Constitution. It seems like they no longer have that respectful boundary with the Church Ministers like before,” he said.
“Even with the Electoral Amendment Act recently, there are no many ambiguous areas in there. And this is all due to the rushing of these changes as the lack of time given for consultations and reviewing.
“And all these will be lessons used by F.A.S.T.”
His title, Afemata, was conferred in 2017 at Sataoa, Safata; he is a father-of-five with his wife, Leaupepe Malelega Fa’apo II.