A Samoan Observer Editorial on Tuilaepa meeting Mara

APIA (Samoa Observer/Pacific Media Watch): Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi can be accused of many things but not for the lack of courage to tackle a challenge head on.

As most Pacific leaders duck for cover in the escalating war of words between fugitive Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara and his gun-totting leader Frank Bainimarama, Tuilaepa has emerged as the Pacific’s voice of reason by speaking up in support of the fugitive.

And he’s done more than just support him; he’s welcomed him to Samoa.

In Australia, Tuilaepa’s comments dominated world headlines yesterday. It cleverly points to him as a leader with courage.

And rightly so. Tuilaepa’s views about Fiji are well known. If anything, he’s been the only Pacific leader bold enough to take on the military commander from a distance.

And his views in Australia this week are hardly surprising.

“I have been talking a lot about the situation in Fiji and I still believe that the Fijians will eventually solve the problem and I think this is one of the processes towards that solution,” he says of Colonel Mara’s escape.

“What I hear from Tevita seems to suggest that as it happens in dictatorships, eventually common sense will prevail and people be keen to realise that they have to solve their own problems themselves.”

‘Common sense’

The “common sense” Tuilaepa talks about refers to people having had enough of their leader to the point they are willing to stand up and take them on.

The Prime Minister says this has happened in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia.

“Eventually people will come to realise that the dictatorship was wrong and I do hope that they will solve it peacefully one way or another,” says the Prime Minister.

And to show he is serious about helping Fiji, Tuilaepa took time from his busy tour of Australia to meet the Colonel.

Says Tuilaepa: “He (Colonel Mara) told me that they are canvassing for a very simple plan for a return to democracy in his country.

“I tend to look at the defection [from the Fiji military] and the proactive role he is playing now as part of the process of a solution initiated by the Fijians themselves.”

But he warns the process could take a while.

“For us, the process of mending differences is a long-term process and part of the Pacific ‘way’ is to talk and talk and talk. We like talking and we talk our problems over.”

Whether Bainimarama will agree is another story.

By meeting with Colonel Mara, Tuilaepa has sent Bainimarama a very clear message. That is, Samoa doesn’t really care what he thinks, this country will support whatever efforts are there to restore democracy in Fiji.

Tuilaepa’s ‘endorsement’

Indirectly, Tuilaepa’s endorsement of Colonel Mara’s rebellious attitude towards Bainimarama is being heralded, as the sort of action the people of Fiji should take.

And that’s not all. Tuilaepa wants to take it further.

Instead of lifting the sanctions imposed by New Zealand and Australia, he has called for additional ones.

“The reason is so that once the people realise that the sanctions are making their lives difficult, then it will motivate them to take the necessary action,” he says.

Once again, Tuilaepa is urging Fijians to act.

How so? He doesn’t say.

But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to put figure it out.

The question is, what if the “necessary action” means the people of Fiji will have to strike out against the military? If that happens, who will be responsible for the lives that are likely to be affected?

The point is, what Tuilaepa is saying is potentially deadly.

And in a country where the military has shown it doesn’t care about what others think – including Tuilaepa – we can only look on and feel for the Fijians.

It’s easier said than done.

- Editorial by Mata’afa Keni Lesa

 

12 Responses to A Samoan Observer Editorial on Tuilaepa meeting Mara

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  2. Dr. G. Nair says:

    This is one of the most naive piece of editorialising I have read recently. It is a fabrication to say, your PM made the headlines around the world – as a researcher on Tevita Mara topic I struggled to find putative sources for continuing interest in Tevita Mara saga. Mara’s utility to Aust/NZ position on Fiji will soon dissipate for he has no credibility, He and his family are serial coup-conspirators, his assertions about the regime lack objectivity and balance, he was part of the co-plotters who deposed the previous government and now that he has been charged for sedition and absconded breaking his bail conditions, he wants the world to believe that he is a born-again democrat?

    Thankfully, I don’t think even the Pacific islanders are that gullible or naive. You are right that Fiji will solve its own problems but Samoa should butt out and stay out – it should deal with its own problems. That is the Pacific Way!

    Dr. G. Nair
    Sydney

    • Charly says:

      Dr. G. Nair,As a supposed rersaecher I find your editorial rebuttal far-fetched, one eyed and least of all trivial. Your fly-by-night comments show you up like a sore thumb. The trouble with you and your ilk [so called Uni. rersaecher & some Auckland so-called democratic mob- see NZ Herald World/Pacific article] is you are not real South Pacific islanders at heart. Most of you are little armchair critics pushing hidden agendas. Most likely Bainimarama & his military junta. Thus you struggle to find putative’ sources to confirm the world headlines’ expressed about the Samoan Prime Minister’s stand against Fiji’s illegal pretenders.In fact the huge interest Mr. Tevita Mara has generated since he left Fiji is phenomenal!! There is nothing wrong with his conviction that any military coup is a cancer that Fiji can ill afford? What affront to casually say otherwise?!The Pacific Islander diaspora is worldwide and is east, west, north & south. As sure as day follows night the PACIFIC ISLANDER in UK is reading this as surely as their sis and cuss’ in Germany, Vienna, France, USA, China, India, Canada, Irag, Afghanistan, Hawaii, Guam, Cooks, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, NZ, Australia, Solomons, Marshalls, Wallis Futuna Mr. Tevita Mara is a true South Pacific son his lineage is woven in fabric, his ancestors trodden the Pacific ocean like well ridden paths for millenium let him pass and shine the light.The common thief Bainimarama and his hoodlums donot represent Fiji. They are army thugs copycats exactly like Mubarak of Egypt, of Tunisia, of Syria that have usurped their country’s government by force, of promised reforms for endless years, now finally forced to flee as illegal dictators for 30-40years having subjected their people to poverty and untold miseries at gunpoint.Long live people of the Pacific!, love your bro’ and sis’ and stand up and be counted.Help your kai viti cuss reclaim their rights before it’s too late!?God bless kai Pasifiki forever!

  3. Sione Lounili says:

    Go Samoa and her PM!
    Thats the way!

    • Bartek says:

      I’m a reporter for The Times neepapswr in London, UK, and I’ve just come across your blog. I am very concerned to hear that you were in Tonga when the tsunami hit and I was wondering if you would be able to tell me more about your experience? I do hope you’ve recovered from your ordeal and if you are able to speak more about it please get in touch. You can contact me on . I am happy to call you if you supply me with a number.Rosie Taylor

  4. Sione Lounili says:

    Dr. G. Nair,
    As a supposed researcher I find your editorial rebuttal far-fetched, one eyed and least of all trivial. Your fly-by-night comments show you up like a sore thumb. The trouble with you and your ilk [so called Uni. researcher & some Auckland so-called democratic mob- see NZ Herald World/Pacific article] is you are not real South Pacific islanders at heart. Most of you are little armchair critics pushing hidden agendas. Most likely Bainimarama & his military junta. Thus you struggle to find
    ‘putative’ sources to confirm the ‘world headlines’ expressed about the Samoan Prime Minister’s stand against Fiji’s illegal pretenders.
    In fact the huge interest Mr. Tevita Mara has generated since he left Fiji is phenomenal!! There is nothing wrong with his conviction that any military coup is a cancer that Fiji can ill afford? What affront to casually say otherwise?!
    The Pacific Islander diaspora is worldwide and is east, west, north & south. As sure as day follows night the PACIFIC ISLANDER in UK is reading this as surely as their ‘sis and cuss’ in Germany, Vienna, France, USA, China, India, Canada, Irag, Afghanistan, Hawaii, Guam, Cooks, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, NZ, Australia, Solomons, Marshalls, Wallis Futuna…
    Mr. Tevita Mara is a true South Pacific son – his lineage is woven in fabric, his ancestors trodden the Pacific ocean like well ridden paths for millenium – let him pass and shine the light.
    The common thief Bainimarama and his hoodlums donot represent Fiji. They are army thugs copycats exactly like Mubarak of Egypt,…of Tunisia,…of Syria that have usurped their country’s government by force, of promised reforms for endless years, now finally forced to flee as illegal dictators for 30-40years having subjected their people to poverty and untold miseries at gunpoint.
    Long live people of the Pacific!, love your bro’ and sis’ and stand up and be counted.
    Help your kai viti cuss reclaim their rights before it’s too late!?
    God bless kai Pasifiki forever!

  5. High Chief says:

    Well, I don’t like either leaders. Samoa for instance PM speaking about Fiji Military Govt as a dictatorship and not democratic. Why dont you shut up and look at your own country and what your govt has done to the democratic Samoa system. Since your govt been in power for 20yrs or so you have taken away the people’s rights to speak up and be counted. You have passed so many stupid laws which stop anyone trying to stand up against your corrupt govt. Lawyers and Judges in all courts in Samoa do not make any wrong decision that would see them get thrown out of their job from you Mr PM. This is purely hypocrite you point your finger at the Fiji PM but you are also another in the same boat with your own govt. What happen to the PSA used to help the workers, well they do not have a voice at all because all the govt jobs are controller by the Ministers, so if anyone try to speak out the Minister has the power to remove that person and replace immediately. So is this a democratic govt Mr Tuilaepa? Well I don’t think so and you said about the fijian one day they will stand up against their ruling govt. I have to tell you Mr PM your own people my people will stand up against you and your so called govt full of corruption in not so far into the future.

    • tepora mailo says:

      I am a samoan woman bleeding at the heart because of the corruption in my own land of Samoa and now Samoa PM putting his nose into Fijian’s issue, What a hyprocrit. He has sold Samoa’s inheritance, the same inheritance Banimarama has restored to the rightful guardians of Fijian roots. So you shut up Sione, you do not hae a clue of what Dr Nair says as your system does not allow for that understanding. Dr Nair is absolutely correct in that corruption is rife in Samoa. The govt has over the years of greed and control erode our matai system which is everything Samoa, by enacting laws and statutes that are cutting through everything indigenous. Samoa let’s follow Fiji. Rise up and claim our inheritance that was directly given to us. Mara you run away because you were likely to be caught for treason. So stop your rubbish and stay out. I Congratulate Banimarama for taking control of Fiji that Qarase and Helen Clark former NZPM had started to carve up for corporate lust as in golf course in Fiji.

  6. Uili Soge says:

    I will say that the Samoa PM’s view of Fiji affairs and the way he conduct himself does not represent all the citizens of Samoa, me included. He interrupted and answered a question directed to Australia’s PM Julia Gillard regarding her poor poll results while in Australia recently. That tells a lot about the PM of Samoa.

    • Ante says:

      This is one of the most naive piece of editorialising I have read rentecly. It is a fabrication to say, your PM made the headlines around the world as a researcher on Tevita Mara topic I struggled to find putative sources for continuing interest in Tevita Mara saga. Mara’s utility to Aust/NZ position on Fiji will soon dissipate for he has no credibility, He and his family are serial coup-conspirators, his assertions about the regime lack objectivity and balance, he was part of the co-plotters who deposed the previous government and now that he has been charged for sedition and absconded breaking his bail conditions, he wants the world to believe that he is a born-again democrat? Thankfully, I don’t think even the Pacific islanders are that gullible or naive. You are right that Fiji will solve its own problems but Samoa should butt out and stay out it should deal with its own problems. That is the Pacific Way!Dr. G. NairSydney

      • Vinod says:

        Ras Mas, you are a true musical icon and inairpstion to our Polynesian people today. Never before in the history of our islands have we heard such profound rhythms that blew away not only music charts right off the wall but also that of the hearts of our people. You have touched the lives of countless people worldwide to include mine with your amazing gifts and for that I am extremely grateful! Thank you for sharing your heart with us! Keep them optimistic vibes coming and we will continue to support you as you increasingly make your way to the stars Malo lava Ras Mas! Sending you endless prayers, love and support xoxo

  7. Peter Loloma says:

    Great to have a fearless leader in the Pacific like Samoa PM. You are the voice of the voiceless majority in Fij.
    Thanks for not coming under the Pacific way. Pacific way will not work for a Dictator like Bainimarama,
    I

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