BY Alan Ah Mu
APIA: WEDNESDAY 09 OCTOBER 2013: The work of a Member of Parliament is for the strong.
So Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi told a group picked to take part in a programme to introduce women to the ways of Parliament.
Launch of the 1st Women Parliamentary Programme today coincided with the start of the October session of Parliament from where Tuilaepa addressed the participants as potential MPs.
“The truth is it is not easy,” he said.
“It is not work for those who are weak; it is work for the strong to shoulder the work of serving Samoa.
The programme is expected to hold preparatory activities right up to the 2016 general elections and beyond.
Parliament last year passed law to guarantee at least five MPs are women after 2016.
In doing so Parliament is not saying for women to reduce their customary duty of looking after their families and children, said the Prime Minister.
To neglect such a duty would be a sin before God, he said.
But if there are women with their children married, no men in their lives, and who want to contribute through politics there are times when women-type decisions, that men overlook, are needed, he said.
Representatives in the parliamentary programme were nominated by government ministries, corporations and non-governmental organisations.
It is designed to give women the skills and knowledge for politics.
Developed and coordinated by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly under the Samoa Parliamentary Support Project – sponsored by the Australia and Samoa governments with help of UNDP Multi Country Office – the programme aims to provide participants with:
· Basic knowledge of parliamentary procedures and processes
· Exposure to Parliament and interactions with parliamentarians to initiate and encourage interest in politics
· Practical elementary legislative training with the help of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.