Samoa stalemate: Head of State calls for reconciliation
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's head of state has called for reconciliation and forgiveness, in a bid to end the country's political deadlock.
Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi's has provided his first public comments since he cancelled a scheduled sitting of parliament 10 days ago.
The FAST party, which has been unable to take office since winning April's election, argues this was done to prevent it from forming government, forcing it to conduct its own ad-hoc swearing-in last Monday.
In his speech to mark Independence Day on Tuesday, the O le Ao o le Malo said only God can provide a solution to the impasse.
"We cannot achieve unity if we continue to reject reconciliation and the willingness to exercise forgiveness," he said.
"My humble prayer is to seek and ask for God's peace so that we can begin to forgive and start our journey towards healing and restoration of dignity and integrity to all three branches of government.
"For he alone selects our leaders and in him lie our hopes for a blessed government for Samoa now and into the future."
The Head of State did not address his reasons for cancelling last week's sitting of parliament, which he said in his proclamation would be provided "in due course."
ARCHBISHOP TO TUILAEPA
The Samoa Observer is reporting that the Archbishop of the Catholic Church, Alapati Lui Mataeliga, used his mass on Monday to lash out at the Human Rights Protection Party-led caretaker Government and its leadership over the country’s constitutional crisis and warned the country is sliding into a dictatorship.
Tuilaepa and a few of his H.R.P.P. members were present during the Archbishop’s sermon and were seated in the front row, not far from the altar of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, where the church leader gave his sermon.
Alapati decried the current state of the nation on the eve of the country marking Samoa’s 59 years of independence.
“There is no peace and there is no unison and it appears as if our forefather’s shed blood for no reason,” he said.
“This all comes down to government leaders fighting for power.”
The Archbishop then used the occasion to remind Government leaders that they are public servants and their calling is to serve Samoa.
On the L.T.C. Bills, which were passed by a H.R.P.P. dominated Parliament last December despite local and international condemnation, Alapati said the Land and Titles Court Bill 2020, the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 and the Judicature Amendment Bill 2020 were “rushed” by the caretaker Government despite public opposition.
“These three bills that were rushed [in Parliament] by the current Government that have lost [in the election], as they have the power and did not listen to the public’s outcry [against these bills].
“Our constitution has lost its sacredness and the same applies to the law, it’s not being followed.”
The Archbishop also lamented the disregarding of the Courts’ judgements, which he said is one of the three pillars of Government in Samoa, and further questioned why the caretaker Government wanted to bring in overseas judges and lawyers to hear cases bringing further embarrassment to Samoa.
According to the Archbishop, at the height of the L.T.C. Bills controversy, he wrote to the caretaker Prime Minister and asked him to step down.
“And in response, Tuilaepa said there is no one that can take his place.”
Alapati then called out to the H.R.P.P. members to take heed of what Tuilaepa had said, adding it is “quite shocking that you all know Tuilaepa does not listen to anyone but you all continue down this stupid path anyway!”
“Your time is done,” the Archbishop said as the caretaker Prime Minister sat listening to his sermon.
(Sources: RNZ Pacific & Samoa Observer)