Let’s face it.
Times are indeed changing in Samoa, and from what we’re seeing today, it looks as if problems galore are waiting up ahead.
That way, it looks as if the right thing to do now is slow down, and let caution be our guide.
The point is that on the front page of the Samoa Observer of 12 April 2018, the story title “Govt, sacks Village Mayor”, was published.
In it, the mayor of Luatuanu’u Village, Autu Lolesio Tauili’i, likened Prime Minister Tuilaepa, Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s administration, to that of “Adolf Hitler’s”
The story said Autu launched his attack on Dr. Sa’ilele after the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development, had terminated his services as Village Mayor, after he had been servicing his community for nine years.
Said Autu then: “My position has been terminated by the Government and I’m really saddened about the way it has been done.”
He went to say: “It is just like Hitler’s government; an absolute dictatorship.”
Later in the interview, Autu explained: “I say this and compare the Samoan Government to Hitler because my services have been terminated without any proper notification, without any logical cause.”
He had a point there.
Still, the fact of the matter is that much has been said about Prime Minister, Sailele Malielegaoi, as being a dictator but then as far as we’re aware, there is nothing to show that he is indeed, a dictator.
This is to say, a dictator kills people indiscriminatingly; in other words, neither a word nor a question is asked, and if others are objecting and they’re standing in the way, the dictator will kill them too.
Still, we sympathise with the Village of Luatuanu’u and their Mayor, Autu Lolesio Tauili’i, since we know what its like to be attacked by our Prime Minister, Tuilaepa.
But then, perhaps comparing him to Hitler is perhaps a bit too much. Still, let’s hope the harm caused will soon be mended, and hopefully then life will be less demanding of us all.
And now, as if quarrelling among public servants has become a permanent preoccupation in today’s day and age, we’re reminded of the story that appeared on the front of the Samoa Observer on 26 April 2018, titled Minister of Justice denies removing Court files claims.
The story said: “The Minister of Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A.), Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, has denied claims that Land and Titles Court files were removed from the vicinity of the Court, and taken to his Office.”
It went on to say: “The files are in relation to the Ainu’u title of Sapapali’i and one other about, the ‘boundaries of Atua.’”
The question then is: Why were the files removed from the Court and taken to the Office of the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration?
As it turned out though, the person who is alleged to have delivered the files to the Minister’s office, is an employee of the Minister’s Office, Tulima Pio,
Says the report: “The files were allegedly delivered by the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration’s employee, Tulima Pio, to the Minister’s Office.”
Mr. Pio told the Samoa Observer: “I took the boxes of files to the Minister’s Office, I was escorted by the C.E.O.’s Secretary.
“When I reported this matter to the Chief Justice, I told him that I was instructed by the C.E.O. to take these boxes of files.
“I followed orders even though I know deep down that this was wrong.”
Now the question is: Why did Tulima Pio say he thought this was wrong?
He explained; “I don’t care what the outcome of this is, but at least I came clean and reported the matter to the Chief Justice.”
Mr. Pio also said he gave the Samoa Observer a document that lists the names of 10 Land and Titles Court files that were allegedly removed from the Court and taken to the Minister’s Office in October 2016.
Asked for a comment, Minister Fa’aolesa said: “That is not true. I cannot respond to the questions if you will not tell me who said these things to you.”
It was Mr. Pio.
Later though, Mr. Pio said he’d delivered the files in 2016, upon instructions from his superior.
He also said: “I took the boxes of files to the Minister’s Office. I have reported this matter to the Chief Justice earlier this month.”
Mr. Pio went on to say: “I can no longer carry this burden. I followed orders even though I know deep down that this was wrong. I don’t care what the outcome of this is, but at least I came clean and reported the matter to the Chief Justice.”
Now again, why did he say: “But at least I came clean?”
Mr. Pio said he has worked at the M.J.C.A. for six years and he’s never seen anything like this being done before.
He said: “The Head of State; the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers come down to the Court to view the Court files; because we all know the Court files are not allowed to leave the Court. It is prohibited.”
Ah! The Head of State!
What’s the problem with the Head of State today?
On the front page of the Samoa Observer of 28 April 2018, the headline read: “He signed the law,” Acting P.M. hits back at former Head of State.
The Acting Prime Minister here is Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, and the Head of State, is the former one, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
So what’s going on between these two now?
Well, according to Fiame, Tui Atua had signed a law. But then what law she was talking about, she did not say.
Later though, it was explained that the law Fiame was referring to, was the Land Titles Registration Act 2008, which she claimed Tui Atua had signed when he was the Head of State.
There was some confusion with Tui Atua though, which was when Fiame insisted: “He signed the law.”
In response to Tui Atua, she said: “I don’t know what more to say other than that I have no comment.”
Fiame had apparently issued a response after Tui Atua had spoken the week before, about customary lands and Samoa’s land laws, an that was when she remarked: “He signed the law.”
Still, it was there that Tui Atua had warned about the wording of Article 102 of the Constitution, saying it was ambiguous. He said he feared that this could be negatively exploited and could lead to the alienation of customary lands.
As for Fiame, she said she was referring to the Land Titles Registration Act 2008, which was signed into law by Tui Atua, when he was the Head of State.
Tui Atua said he had asked for clarity on the matter when he was given the L.T.R. Bill 2008, to sign. The advice was given in a letter from former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai.
Tui Atua said: “In 2008 as Head of State, I was assured by the Attorney General that the provisions of the L.T.R. Bill would not impact in any way, on the customary land rights of suli.”
He also said: “The Attorney General was tasked with a sacred duty to provide the Head of State with the best legal advice possible.”
Tui Atua said it was with this assurance that he signed the bill.
Asked for a copy of the letter from the former A.G. Aumua, Tui Atua said he could not find it.
Aumua has reportedly told the media the advice he’d issued at the time is confidential and could not be released.
During a media event at Tuaefu, Tui Atua said there is “ambiguity” in Article 102 of the Constitution that needs to be dealt with.
He said: “Today we have the responsibility of admitting that there is a problem with Article 102; that the ambiguity within is serious enough to warrant the attention of our best minds in order to make Article 102 unambiguous.”
And so it dragged on.
Still, even with all these laws, poverty is here to stay.
The point is that Samoa, in our view, is a country that will never be able to rise from the dregs of austere poverty - especially in the villages - since those in the government who are entrusted with the task of helping to alleviate poverty, are instead enriching themselves with the resources that are being made available for this very purpose, to the point when poverty becomes uncontrollable and then along the way, it becomes a dangerous liability.
And that is what the government should remain focused on.
Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless.