P.M. laughs off "dictatorship" claims

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has scoffed at criticism from his former Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) colleagues he is running the country on his own in the manner of a "dictator".

Tuilaepa rejected accusations that he was inserting himself in the running of the Government and stripping Ministries of their independence during his weekly program on Radio 2AP.

Tuilaepa said his critics were “liars” and “wannabes” as he rejected their claims that he made decisions on behalf of the entire country on his own in the manner of a dictator ("pulepuletutū").

He was responding to ongoing criticism from Member of Parliament, La'auli Leuatea Schmidt, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who said Samoa is run by "one party-system, controlled by one man."

"They both know the normal process when it comes to decision making for the country," Tuilaepa said. 

"Fiame and La'auli have a fair understanding of how things are done. We have a Cabinet and we have Cabinet meetings to discuss issues and to make decisions. 

"I don't make decisions on behalf of the Cabinet. Yes, it is under my leadership, but we all discuss matters.

"I only raise my tone when I see that we (Cabinet) have outstanding issues that should've been addressed or when we are not in line with a decision that has been made before.

"But I don't make the decisions."

Tuilaepa went on to accuse his former H.R.P.P. colleagues of being "liars" and "wannabes."

"They are accusing me of being high-minded and controlling. They are telling people that I am controlling everyone in Parliament and in the Cabinet and making decisions on my own,” he said. 

"But they both know it is not true."

The Prime Minister said La'auli and Fiame were misleading the people of Samoa.

"They've been in the political arena for a long time, yet they talk like they don't know anything,” he said. 

"The behaviour of those people shows that they are very desperate to be in power. 

"They want to hold supreme power and authority. This shows in the way they talk, behave, and how they are trying so hard to convince people to go against the current Government."

However, Tuilaepa said he was unfazed by their actions and criticism. 

"I didn't think Fiame would turn out to be like La'auli,” he said. 

“La'auli is a crook and a hypocritical liar and it appears that Fiame is following in his footsteps. 

"I see that the four of them (La'auli, Fiame, Olo Fiti Va'ai, Faumuina Wayne Fong) are all liars. They are all the same."

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