Men of the hour: Rev. Vavatau Taufao, Olo Fiti Vaai and Prime Minister Tuilaepa

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 22 July 2018, 12:00AM

There is always a man of the hour. In this case, there are three men: Reverend Vavatau Taufao, Olo Fiti Vaai and Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, are names to think about today.

Just when we thought politics in Samoa has become rather dull given the one-party state nature of our Parliament, along come some interesting developments that should make us all sit down and think. It involves these three men, all very powerful in their own right, with Prime Minister Tuilaepa perhaps the most powerful of them all.

In case you haven’t noticed, they have been battling verbally over issues concerning the future of this country we call home for the past several months.

These things don’t happen by accident. There is always a bigger picture somewhere and whether our minds can fathom the things taking place around us, sometimes our understanding is limited and irrelevant.

But these things have a way of becoming new life forms on their own – whether by design or unintended. That’s how change occur. 

Which makes the latest developments all the more exciting, don’t you think?

The fact is the H.R.P.P. and Prime Minister Tuilaepa have been running and dominating politics in Samoa for close to 40 years. 

To their credit, they have done so many wonderful things for this country. Think of electricity, roads, technological developments, education, hospitals and more. We now have entire generations of Samoans who have known nothing but H.R.P.P. politics. 

Today, their hold on power is absolutely unquestionable. It is fair to say they can do everything and anything, anytime they want.

But are they invincible? What we do know from the law of nature is that everything has a beginning and an ending, just like the law of gravity, that anything which goes up must come down. 

In other words, we live in a world of seasons. No season lasts forever. Know this though, just because a season is ending doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad season. Seasons end because a new season is on the horizon. It is just the way it is.

Change takes place in different forms. And it can be triggered by the smallest thing. Folks, even the most powerful have fallen. We’ve seen this all over the world and Samoa does not operate in a vacuum. 

If some of the most powerful regimes in the world have tumbled during the past few years, it is inevitable that too will happen in Samoa. It is only a matter of time.

Today in Samoa, the biggest issue on the table is the ongoing confrontation between the powerful H.R.P.P. Government and the most powerful denomination on the land, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.).

We’re talking about two of the biggest forces in Samoa continuing to collide over the law requiring Church Ministers to pay taxes on the alofa they receive from church members. With all that force, something has to give.

The face of the C.C.C.S. has been none other than the General Secretary of the Church, Rev. Vavatau. He has been solid from day one and he doesn’t appear to be giving an inch. 

In fact, judging from what he’s been saying, the more he continues to stand his ground – with the backing of close to 60,000 members of their congregation - the more he appears to making headway against the Government.

Then there is the lone voice of Opposition in Olo Fiti Vaai. We know that for a long time he has continued to be a thorn on the side of the H.R.P.P. Government. 

He might be a one-man opposition and at times you question the wisdom behind some of the shots he fires, but he has remained consistent in his fight, not wavering at all. For someone who has spent three terms in Parliament to continue to remain an Opposition M.P., turning his back on all the riches and power that have blinded so many good men who are in the H.R.P.P., Olo’s courage must be commended.

During the past few weeks, it is obvious that Rev. Vavatau’s fight for justice on behalf of his Church and Olo Fiti’s insistence on accountability, transparency and good governance, has irked Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

His response? Well he has threatened to remove Olo Fiti from Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee for speaking his mind.

As for Rev. Vavatau, even he has been met with another veiled threat.

“I advised him previously not to bother with politics, he’ll drown in it,” Tuilaepa warned. “Leave politics to us who have been anointed by God to be politicians.”

He continued: “In his attempt to try and deviate over to politics, he will get injured and that is why he needs to leave politics to politicians…”

Drowned? Injured? What is politics in Samoa? A war?

Whatever it is, these are very interesting times. These moments could very well be the catalyst of something big, the final straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak. 

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 22 July 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device.

Ready to signup?