Defeated Samoan prime minister Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has proven that leaders who throw a tantrum when they are beaten in a democratic election and can’t accept they lost, aren’t limited to America.
Let’s be honest – the Pacific’s political record hasn’t always been great, and Samoa is now a contender for the “lust for power” award which has seen some impressive winners over the years by other island nations.
The region is now waiting for the next chapter of the now long-running saga that – in scenes you’d expect on reality TV – saw the former leader lock the incoming government out of the country’s Parliament, only to see them sworn in under a tent in the gardens.
After a lengthy legal process the new government, led by FAST Party leader Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, is now in control but the former PM who led the nation for 23 years – a pretty amazing feat – is determined to destroy his legacy and has now been accused of inciting civil unrest.
Tuila’epa, along with others, has been charged with contempt of court after ignoring a Supreme Court directive for Parliament to sit on May 24, an option unavailable to Mr Trump although he did urge his vice president Mike Pence to ignore the constitution and refuse to certify the election of incoming president Joe Biden.
Lawyer Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu, who acts for the FAST party so isn’t exactly objective, has told a local media outlet that Tuila’epa is “building up to a crescendo of unrest for the September 20 parliamentary opening.”
She said the wonderfully-named (given recent events) ‘Human Rights Protection Party’ of the former PM was engaged in intimidation of judges and lawyers, and sabotage within the civil service, all aimed at returning Tuila’epa to office.
In a statement straight from the American Democratic Party’s talking points, she pointed out that he could be stopped by being sent to jail for treason.
In the meantime the new government has brought in five New Zealand judges to hear the contempt cases against the former prime minister, the attorney general, the former speaker and the clerk of parliament, because the cases involve all of Samoa’s six Supreme Court Judges.
None of this helps Samoa at a time when nations need governments to focus on the health and economic needs of their people. Let’s hope it is resolved soon. One Trump in the world is surely all it can handle.