Veteran MPs, Tuuu Anasii Leota and Ale Vena Ale have announced their resignations from the opposition Human Rights Protection Party.
The pair called a special press conference on Thursday afternoon to announce their decision that they have formally resigned from the HRPP party. They intend to serve out the remainder of their parliamentary terms as Independent Members of Parliament.
The MPs gave the main reason for leaving the Human Rights Protection Party, as
“the party leadership” and said “the party has moved away from its objective of protecting human rights.”
“HRPP is going down,” said Ale Vena Ale of Faleata 4.
“Tuilaepa is the damaging factor in the HRPP party and there is no future in the HRPP with Tuilaepa at the helm,” he added.
Tuuu Anasii Leota, who has been a member of HRPP since he first entered Parliament in 1996, said the leadership of HRPP is a key reason for his decision to abondon the party.
“We see that in overseas elections, when a political party loses a general election, there is a change of leadership.. however, there is no intention of the current leader to step down,” said Tuuu Anasii.
The former Minister of Revenue said HRPP Leader, Tuileapa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, is no doubt an astute politician with experience, who has done a lot of good for Samoa over the many years.
“However, it is time for a change.” “O le lou ma loga fuaka..”
According to Tuuu, his Constituency of Siumu has given him their blessing to move away from HRPP, and become an Independent Member of Parliament.
“My Constituency does not vote by party,” said Tuuu. “They choose the candidate who will best serve the constituency.. but I have my district’s full support for this decision.. it is the best decision at this time,” said Tuuu.
The two MPS said being Independent MPS will allow them to freely vote for FAST policies if they feel that is the best way forward, and further allow them to freely speak on policies.
“There is a new government in power and it is time for us to support them,” said Tuuu. “They are also doing what is good for Samoa.”
Both Ale Vena and Tuuu Anasii were members of the Parliamentary Ethics and Governance Committee that recommended two year suspensions for HRPP’s party leader and secretary. During the press conference, they both admitted to not only signing off on the Ethics Committee’s recommendation, but had also voted to support the suspension of Tuilaepa and Lealailepule from Parliament.
The exit of Ale Vena Ale is no surprise, as he had already indicated his intentions to leave HRPP and become an independent MP in June this year. His main issue aired at the time, was the need for a change of leadership.
“Tuilaepa doesn’t have any intention to allow any of us to become a leader of the party,” said Ale.
Ale did not hold back and added during question time with the media that, “Tuilaepa does not take any advice.” “E le fautuaina..”
Ale said the HRPP had been “too confident” prior to the April 2021 general elections, and made key strategic errors such as running too many candidates in one constituency.
“There were 6 candidates for Lefaga and Faleaseela compared to the FAST party’s one candidate,” he said. “That’s ridiculous!” he said.
MPs cannot cross the floor under the law. Crossing the floor will result in a by-election under Samoa’s laws. However, the two candidates say they are Independent MPs as of today, and will not have to return to a by-election.
The Leader of the Human Rights Protection Party, together with the party General Secretary were last month suspended from the Legislative Assembly of Samoa for a period of 24 months.