The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and longtime Member of Parliament for Lefaga, Le Mamea Ropati
BY Lance Polu
APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 29 JUNE 2015: The Minister of Agriculture and one of the longest serving Members of Parliament has announced his resignation from politics when the current term ends in December as the country prepares for the March 2016 general elections.
The Member of Parliament for Lefaga and Falease’ela, Le Mamea Ropati used his responses to issues raised by MP’s in the budget debate to announce his resignation.
A pharmacist by profession, the once aspiring Prime Ministerial candidate will end his political career as a Cabinet Minister after a colourful career that has taken him to both sides of the House and coming back to the political party he helped found but walked away from in 1985.
Le Mamea was a Minister of Education in the first ever Human Rights Protection Party government in 1982 and where the idea of setting up what is now the National University of Samoa started with only $5.00 in the budget item.
However, after the 1985 general elections, he joined the other MPs to cross the floor in leaving HRPP to form a Coalition Government when they were not reappointed as Cabinet Ministers under the Tofilau Eti Alesana government after winning a landslide victory.
He was not reappointed when Tofilau came back as Prime Minister in the 1988 general elections and later joined the Opposition Party led by Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, the current Head of State,
Le Mamea later led the Opposition Party after removing Tui Atua as leader after losing heavily in the ensuing general elections.
He joined forces with the late Asiata Saleimoa Vaai to lead the Parliamentary Opposition and the relationship ended in Le Mamea teary resignation and effectively ended the parliamentary Opposition when the party fell short of the numbers to form a political party in the House.
In the 2011 general elections, he made his return to the Human Rights Protection Party and was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Before announcing his decision to retire from politics, he spoke of the highlights of his term as Minister of Agriculture where he chaired the meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Italy last month, a first for a Minister from the Pacific islands.
After a political career that spanned 35 years, he came through the 2011 general elections by a slim majority of only four votes.