M.P. loses sleep over opposition rally

Member of Parliament Mulipola Laki Leiataua has told Parliament he has been having sleepless nights since a rally was held in his constituency by a rival political party.

The M.P. for Aiga ile Tai and Associate Minister of Finance told the Parliament on Wednesday that he is disappointed with members of the Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party who held a roadshow in Manono and Satuimalufilufi earlier this week. 

He then held up several papers which he claimed were filled with countless unfounded allegations made by the new party during their outreach programme in his constituency.

“Honourable Speaker, this has weighed heavily on me,” he told the Parliament.

The M.P. said he wasn’t able to sleep at night as he was up taking notes of the many allegations that were made by the rival party’s members during the roadshow. 

He did not say what the allegations were but said he was “butchered” during the rally by the party.

“I strongly support the Prime Minister,” said Mulipola of the Prime Minister’s suggestion to move a motion to deal with disparaging comments made outside the confines of the Parliament.  “Even the Prime Minister, I feel for him and what the people were saying without any boundaries.

“Where is the mutual respect they speak of inside parliament wishing for a smooth sail in our journey. There is no peace in our country…”

The Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi then queried the member to clarify who he was accusing.

In response, the Aiga ile Tai M.P. said it was La’auli Leuatea Schmidt

 and members of his F.A.S.T. party.

The Member – who will not contest the seat in the upcoming general election – told the Parliament that he was shocked with the public announcement made by the Members. 

He then named several development projects in the constituency from garden toilets to a bus shelter, a wharf construction and the fixing of the water supply.

And while he has expressed his disappointment at the discussions that came out of the F.A.S.T. party roadshow, Mulipola commended a E.F.K.S. church minister who was direct in his words at the ceremony. 

He said he does not take what happened lightly, saying that the incident has made a mockery of the Aiga ile Tai seat.

According to Mulipola, he had previously appealed in the Parliament for another Aiga ile Tai seat to be created. 

However, he claimed that the party is attempting to deceive voters by claiming that the electoral seat that was removed from Savai’i should be given to Aiga ile tai. 

“Why didn’t you support my appeal in Parliament for another seat for Aiga ile tai,” he said.

“I had suggested to bring in Satuimalufilufi to increase the number [voters] in Aiga ile Tai so that it is eligible for another seat in the upcoming parliamentary term. 

“This Member did not just sit idle for these years.”

The Aiga ile Tai constituency has the second highest number of active voters in the upcoming general election of approximately 4,644 eligible voters.    

But La’auli then took the floor to clarify the issue and told the Member that the constituents can confirm that the reason why his name was raised in the discussion was prompted by a question from the audience.

He explained that they were asked as to why the M.P. continues to hold the seat when he has a conviction.

“We offered an explanation to the question of what should be done to those that continue to occupy the seat in this parliament when they broke the law,” he said. 

“That is where our response was given and our visit [to constituencies] is to offer explanation on our policies but there was no intention to create friction or speak ill of you.”

The Members then continued their verbal exchange with the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi joining the debate.

Before the Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa'afisi ordered the Members to take notice of the Chair and calmed the Members of the House.

Mulipola was disqualified by the Electoral Commissioner in October last year from contesting in the upcoming general election. 

The M.P. then filed a petition with the Electoral Court to challenge the decision of the Electoral Office but withdrew his petition later and will not return to defend his seat. 

Mulipola was convicted and discharged by the District Court in relation to a serious traffic offence in 2015. 

The electoral law disqualifies any election candidate who was convicted within the last eight years for an offence that is punishable by death or an imprisonment term of four years or more. 

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