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P.M. responds to former Head of State

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has claimed that the former Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, could be reading the Adolf Hitler-authored autobiography, Mein Kampf, which is why he continues to oppose proposed changes to the Constitution.

Tuilaepa made the point during his 2AP programme on Saturday evening at his Ululoloa residence where he responded to Tui Atua's claim that Tuilaepa finds it easy to poke fun at Samoa's forebears and change the Constitution because his parents were not involved in Samoa's struggle for freedom. 

The proposed changes to the Constitution are outlined in the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Court Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020. 

Tui Atua had criticised Tuilaepa for saying Samoa's forefathers did not understand the Constitution, and he had also disputed the Prime Minister's claim that the nation’s founding documents had not placed emphasis on Samoan culture.

However, Tuilaepa alleges Tui Atua might be adopting a Hitler-like mindset in relation to the current Government’s agenda.

"Something is happening with my boy (Tui Atua)," Tuilaepa said. 

"Perhaps he has read the book Mein Kampf, Hitler [which says], fabricate a lie and no matter what they try to correct you, remain adamant and keep on doing what you believe in, so that others may believe in the same thing. 

"And that's why others now believe what he says. But there aren't many, because you cannot mislead a whole country. You can mislead a few but not the whole nation.

"Even his cousin, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, the former Attorney General, advised against  opposing the three bills but they do not want to listen." 

Making reference to both the Samoa Law Society and Tui Atua, Tuilaepa said trying to make those opposing the bill understand what the bills stand for is like “water off a duck's back”.

Last month, Lemalu defended the bills, saying the proposed legislation is intended to improve the work of the L.T.C. and disagreed with the concerns expressed that the bills will violate the Constitution.

“On the contrary, it seeks to enhance the right to a fair (substantive) trial via a new appeal avenue within the L.T.C. route; and it simply cannot by creating a specialist Court of Appeal, somehow then remove the separation of powers of the three branches of Government from the Constitution,” Lemalu said.

Continuing his defense of the three bills, Tuilaepa said part of the reason why the Constitution only consists of individual rights is that the forefathers did not want to cause confusion in the already entangled Constitution draft.

"The Constitution is a very tangled document and because of this, they summoned the palagi to help draft the Constitution as we did not understand, including my fathers from Lepa who were involved, regarding the complications tied in the Constitution," he reiterated.

"This is why they asked for the rights of the Alii and Faipule in the constitution. But note that the Alii and Faipule are those who governed the country.

"But professor Davidson at the time quickly intervened, saying the many individual rights already included is enough for the Constitution as the communal rights will generate more complications. They said that there will be a future generation who will come in to do that, and that is where these three bills come in."

Responding to Tui Atua's claims that he (Tuilaepa) speaks casually about the forefathers involvement in the Constitutional Convention as his parents were not a part of the dialogue, the Prime Minister said that statement needed to be corrected as he had ten ancestors from Lepa village who were involved. 

He did not say who they were.

Tuilaepa then went on to call Tui Atua "his boy" and explained why he should be called his "son" from the perspective of the Sa Tuala family.

“The reason why I say he’s my boy is because remember when he was growing up and during his youthful years, he was full of determination,” he said.  “When court cases came, he was very determined to win it all, selfishly, it resulted in part of Tui Atua’s family being removed, which is the Sa Tuala family, in Fasito'o.

“After that, they removed another part here in Vaisigano, the family of Mavaega. It eventually progressed, and the family of Sa Feanuivao won the case. And [Tui Atua] is their boy.”

The Prime Minister reminded that the Sa Tuala side is where he was bestowed the title of Aiono.

“So they should be saying, I am also a chief of Sa Feanuivao; Sa Feanuivao is Falefa, Falevao and Salani. And that is why I am saying that he is my boy or my son when we put it in the perspective of my Sa Feanuivao side,” he said.

“And the son should listen to his father because the Lord has a commandment that says obey your father so you may live a long life.

“But from what I see, it seems the son is rebelling against his father [...] I see he is very agitated in his responses to me but he should try limiting what he is doing.”

It was not possible to get a comment from Tui Atua on Sunday.

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