Political rivals celebrate birthdays
As the country awaits the official election results, political rivals Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and La’auli Leuatea Schmidt celebrated their birthdays on Wednesday.
The caretaker Prime Minister and leader of the Human Rights Protection Party turned 76 and the F.A.S.T. party Chairman 55.
Tuilaepa was aged 35 when he first entered the Parliament in 1981 after winning the by-election representing Lepa Constituency and has been re-elected unopposed since then.
Samoa Observer has been barred from interviewing with the caretaker Prime Minister since last Saturday.
However, staff in the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet posted a picture of them celebrating the birthday with Tuilaepa in the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday.
“Birthday greetings and well wishes from management and staff, Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet,” reads a post on the Government of Samoa’s official Facebook page.
La’auli told this newspaper on Wednesday morning that he is thankful to God for continuing to give him the strength at the age of 55.
“I just thanked the Lord for giving me the strength and the life after so many things that have already happened, through the journey of this 55-years not only within my family, by my journey as a political person this is nothing unless God is in it and I am grateful for that,” he said.
“Taking the opportunity to thank my family, wife and my children also my supporters, especially my other family, which is Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T) for their continuous support.
“I thank my parents dearly and everyone who has prayed for me and my career and as of tonight my family FAST will be hosting a birthday party celebrating another year added and a thankful heart indeed.”
Both Tuilaepa and La’auli were educated at the Marist Brothers School at Mulivai.
Fully aware that the caretaker Prime Minister also shared the same birthday, La'auli reminisced on their H.R.P.P. days when they both celebrated their birthdays.
“Back in 2006 when I entered Parliament, the first camp at Sogi, there I knew we had the same birthday date and during that time I was the party whip.
“In that time so my wife came in with the cake that night then all of a sudden Gillian, Tuilaepa’s wife did show up with a cake as well so we had a double birthday celebration together.”