The new Prime Minister of Samoa has issued her first ever statement saying the country’s integrity and the people’s confidence in the systems of government must be restored. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s election as the first woman PM marked a historical shift in regional politics. But her election triggered strong resistance from the incumbent administration who locked the courts and parliament to prevent the swearing in ceremony of the new cabinet (Picture by Samoa Observer).
The new Prime Minister of Samoa has issued her first ever statement saying the country’s integrity and the people’s confidence in the systems of government must be restored.
Repost from My Land My Country.
Press release from the new Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa
Monday the 24th of May 2021 was the day upon which the wishes of our people, through the ballots which they cast some six weeks ago (on 9 April), were finally honored, notwithstanding every attempt by the Caretaker Government and all the public officeholders (who have failed to perform their functions according to the law) to derail the normal democratic process of elections where the people choose the Government they wish to govern them.
This party, Fa’atuatua I Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – which translated means ‘Samoa United in Faith’ or FAST party, seeks to govern grounded in our belief in God and the unity which that brings to His believers, and according to the values demanded of such faith.
Our election results were 25 votes each with the other party, and on 21 April the Independent member joined our ranks giving us a majority of 26-25 and ready to form government.
However in the middle of the night before, the Electoral Commissioner advised the Head of State to appoint an additional Member of Parliament (based on a minimum women provision added to the Constitution in 2016) creating an apparent deadlock of 26-26 votes each.
We challenged the legality of that highly significant yet illegal administrative action proclaimed by the Head of State and on the night before the hearing, the Head of State issued a further Proclamation on 4 May relying upon the ‘so called’ deadlock of members and declared the results of the 9 April election void, and calling for new General Elections on 21 May.
We challenged both actions and the Supreme Court declared:
The additional women action was unlawful
The declaration for new elections was also unlawful
The 20 May proclamation for Parliament to convene on Monday 24th May was lawful, and attention was directed for the need for this to take place.
It was on Monday morning, whilst we were waiting for the Head of State, when the Clerk of Parliament advised those assembled, that he and his office had been ordered not to assist or cooperate in any manner, even though we had been working together to prepare the papers, the night before.
Yes, it was looking pretty grim by 10.00 am, but the strength of our faith and the prayers of the faithful and our fundamental belief in what was the right thing to do led us past that enormous assault on the dignity of this country and its people.
So by 5.00pm, we had reconvened, and we once again assembled on the sacred grounds of Tiafau (where our forebears are buried), outside the sad lifeless symbol of our democracy standing empty behind us, and the people of this land reclaimed our democracy, reclaimed the 89,000 votes cast by our people, and reclaimed the dignity of our country destroyed in the morning, but reasserted in the afternoon, in the presence of three of the four paramount families whose blood weaves the fabric of this country together, together with our faith leaders, Tumua ma Pule representing our traditional leaders, as well as the members of our community.
Democracy cannot be denied. Democracy must prevail always.
There can be no exceptions from this fundamental principle and Monday afternoon was when the silent suffering masses, who have been subjected to years of abuse and neglect, reasserted their right to have the people they voted for sworn in and taking the leadership from an administration which has lost its love for the people and is unable to accept defeat as the mighty warriors of our history… malolo fa’atamaali’i – to fall with dignity, and with honour, in the manner of high chiefs… The Rule of law was also the foundation for Monday’s ceremony as all of us were acting in accordance with the Constitution, the declarations of the Supreme Court, and simply what was right.
The law breaking ex Prime Minister and his weak and complicit officials have abused the privilege of governing to assault the Constitution.
The law breaking ex Prime Minister and his weak and complicit officials have also undermined the dignity of this land and all of its people yesterday, and that shame and that stain will be upon their hands forever.
When the arrogant refusal to concede power, a power which is given by the people, becomes a grubby international incident, then our ex Prime Minister has dragged us all to his lowly places and he and all his sycophants must go, and go quickly, so we may start to rebuild this tortured land with the talented and exceptional Cabinet Ministers who have agreed to place their full commitment to restoration and revival under my leadership, together with all other Members of Parliament who represent their people, and all those public servants who wish to serve the people and not simply one man. We are resilient and we have faith, and those are the qualities which will lead us through the long days ahead. Yes, we convened under a tent, as did the children of Israel in their 40 year travail where they worshipped in the tabernacle, and when Jesus was about to be born, Mary and Joseph were locked out from any inns, a humble stable welcomed our Saviour….
‘Needs must when the devil drives….’
The elected Members present at Parliament on Monday, as was their role and duty, resolved to decide on other arrangements to compensate for the refusal of four public officials to do their jobs, in order that they, and we could follow the law. Regardless of the obstructions placed in our way, we did convene the 17th Parliament of the Independent State of Samoa on Monday 24 May 2021. We await, and are prepared for the next short period of undoubtedly taxing times, but simply ask that you keep the faith…help is on the way.
Finally, to our religious leaders and the prayerful, we are grateful and humbled for your continued prayers and for uplifting our endeavors to His throne room of Grace where all strength, all courage and all direction comes from Him. May God continue to hold our nation and its people in His Hands. Soifua!Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa Prime Minister
Independent State of Samoa
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