Leaving DPMs position vacant is unconstitutional says Opposition MP

Independent  MPs Olo Fiti Vaai (Centre) and Leatinu’u Wayne Fong being interviewed by Tapuala Levasa of the EFKSTV’s Soalepule Programme last night.

APIA, SAMOA: Outspoken Independent MP, Olo Fiti Vaai says leaving the Deputy Prime Minister’s position vacant is unconstitutional.

Speaking on EFKS TV’s Soalepule programme last night, Olo quoted the Constitution 4 (32) that the Head of State appoints a Deputy Prime Minister on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The position was left vacant when long serving HRPP MP Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister forthwith last Friday morning.

After announcing that the position will be elected by caucus, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said on Wednesday this week that the position will not be filled and he will carry the portfolios until after the general elections.

Olo Fiti Vaai told the popular TV programme, that Tuilaepa’s decision reflects badly on the 46 Members of Parliament supporting the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.

“The decision means that none of them has Tuilaepa’s confidence and trust to fill these two positions,” the MP said.

Olo said that the decision further confirms the views that Samoa is a one party state, ruled by one a party and controlled by one person.

He also referred to a newly commissioned painting by local artists of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper on the wall of the Cabinet room “but the Prime Minister is short of one disciple,” said Olo.

On the same EFKSTV programme, the other Independent MP, Leatinu’u Wayne Fong clarified that funding for his constituency’s Primary School at Vaigaga was approved by the World Bank under the Environment Resilience Programme.

He criticized the delay as having political implications when he fell out of favour with the ruling HRPP when he was recently sacked by Tuilaepa.

The Prime Minister inspected the school building this week after he told the government media that the architectural drawing for the building was too expensive.

Leatinu’u however explained that there were other school buildings already approved and built by HRPP at $5 million talā each like the Falevao, Siumu and Gautavai school buildings. “Some of those school buildings have only 200 students when we at Vaigaga Primary have 400 students and the building is insecure and may collapse and bury the students any time.”

Leatinu’u is also concerned that the funds will be returned to the World Bank if it is not used because he no longer supports the ruling political party.

He also explained that the approved funds for the Vaigaga Primary School were being considered to be reallocated to another school on the east of Apia town based on political interests.

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