MY  SAY : Why Cabinet Needed A Shuffle

About the author:

Mataeliga Pio Sioa, Newsline Samoa newspaper editor. A veteran journalist in broadcast and print media.

  • New Women's Minister has the undivided attention of the PM - file photo
    New Women's Minister has the undivided attention of the PM - file photo

A Cabinet re-shuffle with the general elections beckoning just over a year and half away, makes for some wild and fun speculations to liven up the monotonous chatter.

The stunned reaction and the fired-up discussions when the announcement became official were hardly surprising.

The news was heavy stuff, serious enough to leave the masses in excited murmur.

PM Tuilaepa tried to dampen the interest override by referring to the switch around as part of a normal turn of events in any Government. 

If you can believe that, then it is also true that cows once flew over the moon before evolution took their wings away.

The animals were high enough from grass, they saw no point wasting energy flapping heavy wings into the sky, when all they needed to fly was to stay grounded and eat more grass.

What Tuilaepa said that was easier to believe is that “…variety is a spice of life.”

He certainly spiced up the talk by shuffling the portfolio for two of his Cabinet Ministers and having to re-assign a few Ministry divisions.

The fun of speculating started with why now and why the two portfolios, Health and Women?

Why not Inland Revenue and Finance?  How about Agriculture and Labour and Trade?

Surely the PM did not take a sudden liking to some ‘Shuffle” hit song and in a dancing whim decided to switch around Tuitama and Faimalo.

He is also too flat footed to shuffle from his left to right foot without stepping on his toes and injuring a toenail.

Here is a perspective on how the whole thing is supposed to roll.

The villages are being stirred up by a roving group of political agitators selling a doom and gloom tale about Government selling off their customary land.

The point has been reached where one of the official village representatives or pulenu’u decided to defy Government. He is still walking around with Government bootmarks up his backside for his rebellion.

One of the villages also reportedly kicked out a Ministry visit that was supposed to talk about Government plans.

Recently the PM himself warned that outside influences are trying to undermine the integrity and the authority of the village chiefs and orators.

Add up all these separate events and it quickly shows that the rural communities are becoming politically unstable.

Faimalo is a rookie Minister not yet up to a level of statesmanship required to restore calm and confidence back into the villages.

Tuitama has just come through a rough passage of unmerging the Ministry of Health that came very close to inciting a nurses strike.

Re-uniting the National Health and the Ministry led to the loss of the NHS Chief Executive Officer.   Staff frictions and overlap of responsibilities are nagging issues yet to be smoothed over.

But personal differences whether it is with the doctors, nurses, allied and administrative staff, were always going to happen on exercises like these.

The return to Ministry status for Health Services is done and that is more important.

What is needed now is time for the staff to settle in and to work on their differences as part of the healing process.

 To hurry that process along a mother figure to spread some motherly soothing is called for to kiss the pain away and make everyone happy again.

Faimalo is better suited to that lovey-dovey kind of mom stuff.

Tuitama is a hardnosed veteran.  He has also worked the political spectrum from both sides as an opposition before he ‘saw the light’ and converted to bat for the Government side.

Remember, he is also a doctor.  He is a medicine man trained to heal.

Now pretend you are wearing Tuilaepa’s lavalava!  With the general elections looming ever so closer is it not time to spice things up?

Not sure if the PM has ridden a race horse before but there is a saying in the sport about ‘horses for courses.’

The analogy is about knowing the right horse to field in a race.  If it is a fast horse you run it in a sprint race and in a long endurance course you go with the one that has stamina.

You must know your horses, whether you are a bettor or an owner to make the right choices.

Of course there will be some who protest it is not a horse race. Of course it is not a horse race, it is about making the right choices.

Do you think Tuilaepa has made the right choice?

   ‘Ailoga’ would have doubts. ‘Kailo’ has no idea.