Public servants who are candidates for 2016 election should resign, says Opposition

The Shadow Minister of Finance for the Tautua Samoa Opposition Party, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele 

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: FRIDAY 02 OCTOBER 2015: “Public servants who have declared their candidacy for the 2016 general elections should resign the moment that declaration is made public.”

This is the view of the Tautua Samoa Party shadow minister for Finance Afualo Dr. Salele Wood in an interview with Talamua Media.

Afualo told Talamua that allowing public servants who intend to run in the elections to continue working could result in the abuse of public assets for their personal use.

His opinion includes public servants running for any political party including Tautua Samoa. However, he differentiated the ways Tautua and the ruling Human Rights Protection Party do things.

He said when the HRPP candidates declared their candidacy publicly last month, they should have also had the courtesy to resign from their current positions within the Ministries.

As for Tautua candidates, they are yet to make that declaration which Afualo said would be sometimes soon.

“They cannot serve two masters at the same time  and they would be cheating on their working hours paid by taxpayers,” said Afualo.

“The majority  of taxpayers are from the private sector with a few from the Government,” he said.

He made reference to the old act where public servants were told to resign from their jobs once they declare their interest to run in the 2011 general elections. Afualo was one of the public servants affected then.

“Before that act was enforced, I took  3 months leave without pay, before Cabinet sent a memo to all public servants who wanted to run to resign,” Afualo explained.

He said  back then, the policy was for public servants to take 3 months leave without pay prior to the general election, but he believes that has changed.

Unless they resign once their intentions are declared publicly, there is a chance that they will  use public resources unfairly.

“How can we expect good and honest leaders for Samoa in the future if this is the kind of ethics they uphold?” Afualo pointed out.

“There is no honesty in this kind of behavior,” said the former University lecturer.

Tautua Samoa is planning to declare their candidates for the 2016 general election at the end of this month.