Samoa's HRPP leader sued for contempt

In the latest twist in Samoa’s political rollercoaster, the F.A.S.T. Party has accused the HRPP leader of contempt of court.

9th June, 2021

Samoa's HRPP leader sued for contempt
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi (left) and Fiame Naomi Mata'afa (right). Photo/RNZ

In the latest twist in Samoa’s political rollercoaster, the F.A.S.T. Party has accused the HRPP leader of contempt of court.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been accused of ignoring a Supreme Court ruling to convene parliament, where F.A.S.T. should have been sworn in as government.

Also accused alongside Tuilaepa is the speaker of parliament, the clerk of the legislative assembly and the attorney-general.

The motion was filed by F.A.S.T. leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who has also accused Tuilaepa of undermining the judiciary through disparaging comments.

Speaking on Pacific Days, Fiame claims her opposite number is still refusing to accept his defeat in April's election.

Negotiations between Fiame Naomi Mata'afa and Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi broke down earlier this week after they disagreed on a transition to a new government

Fiame claims there was nothing out of the ordinary regarding her request.

“We were looking for a discussion to transition to a new government and then moving out. 

“It’s not as though he (Tuilaepa) should be surprised. I think the man is in serious denial, as though it’s very unusual for a party that has won the election to say, ‘Listen mate, these are the results and you should be moving out and let’s have a discussion about that’.”

Fiame doubts there will be further negotiations given the stance taken by herself and her opposite, Tuilaepa.

“Well, you never say no to a negotiation if there’s some rational outcome to be gained from it, but from the positions that we’ve taken and especially the interpretations of the appeal court’s decision, I don’t see it.”

Fiame says she finds the irony in what is being discussed between the two political party leaders.

“This whole impasse is centered around representation for women, so as a woman, I’m quite fascinated. 

“I’m always pleased if there’s an increase of women in parliament, but people need to understand that this is a particular provision within the law and there are issues around it.”

The F.A.S.T. Party leader says she is prepared to go through the formal process of the court ruling on election petitions in order to come to a resolution.

“He’s (Tuilaepa) wanting to delay the process of government, of parliament meeting and for us to move in and he was saying to us, it was in our interest to cut short this process and do what he was offering of 26 members each going into the House,” Fiame says.

“So I said to him, ‘Listen, however long it takes, you can be sure that we will be pursuing that and through the law’.”

When asked whether the F.A.S.T. Party would be willing to go through a second election, Fiame says: “Why would we? We won the election. We’re not silly.”