Fiame calls for Tuila’epa to end Samoa’s ‘enormous assault’

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Samoa's Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa
Samoa's Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa ... "our caretaker has dragged us all to his lowest ebb, and he and all his sycophants must go." Image: Ame Tanielu/RNZ

By Jamie Tahana, RNZ Pacific journalist

Samoa’s incoming prime minister has called for the caretaker Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) government to relinquish power so the country can rebuild.

The country is in a constitutional crisis after the FAST party, which won a one-seat majority in the April 9 election, was blocked from entering Parliament to form a government on Monday.

The Head of State had cancelled a scheduled sitting on Saturday, but that was overruled by the Supreme Court on Sunday.

FAST’s members arrived on Monday to find Parliament locked, with the clerk and speaker saying they were acting on orders from the caretaker Minister for Parliament, HRPP leader Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

Under the constitution, Parliament must sit within 45 days of an election, and Monday was the last possible day for that provision to be met.

FAST instead held its own swearing-in ceremony in a tent outside parliament, where its leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was sworn in as Prime Minister, but the Head of State, the judiciary and parliamentary officials were all absent.

The Attorney-General – an HRPP appointee – has said the ceremony was unconstitutional, and that FAST was not the government. A Supreme Court challenge will be heard on tomorrow.

Fiame, in an address to the nation today, said FAST was forced into an action to get past “the enormous assault on the dignity of this country and its people” by the HRPP. While not mentioning him by name, she called on Tuila’epa to stand aside.

“The rule of law … was the foundation for Monday’s swearing in ceremony as all of us were acting in accordance with the constitution, the declarations of the Supreme Court, and simply what is right,” she said.

“The lawbreaking caretaker and his weak and complicit officials have undermined the dignity of this land and all of its people,” she said.

“That shame and that stain will be upon their hands forever.”

Fiame called for Tuila’epa to stand down so her government could rebuild the country from the crisis.

“When the arrogant refusal to concede power, a power which is given by the people, becomes a grubby international incident, then our caretaker has dragged us all to his lowest ebb, and he and all his sycophants must go.”

Fiame said she was prepared to wait through more taxing times, and asked supporters to keep their faith as they pursued an end to the crisis.

“Help is on the way, the way of the rule of law.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Oh Lord God of Host! You alone is the One and Only true and Living God of Power, justice and authority over all nations of the world. Our island of Samoa and our people are in a state of chaos and confusion. I pray for your divine intervention and manifestation of your supernatural power and wisdom, to bring peace, calm and most of all Unity to our people. We pray for all powers of darkness, principalities, rulers and evil powers of this world to be removed in Jesus Name, and for your Holy Spirit to bring the mind of God the Father to our leaders in this hour, and in such a time as this! Cause a heart of humility and a fear of You during this time! May your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven ! I pray this in Jesus Name and may glory and honour be given to you alone now and forever more.

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