Word is out that Corruption exists in Samoa and people are getting excited that King Kong Tuila’epa’s days of tyranny could be coming to an end. In this post I hope to bring balance and depth to the forever challenging political scene in Paradise. Against the backdrop of the PM being evacuated to first Apia Hospital and then Auckland Hospital and then vanishing from the news circles for two weeks, I discuss the bigger picture and what the little people can do.
There is no doubt that the words, “corruption” and “Samoa” are birds of a feather. Prime Minister Tuila’epa is and has been at the head of this snake for a decade and a half and has cemented his power quite nicely thank you very much. A recent visit by the PM to hospital in Apia, then in New Zealand, along with release of my book Corruption in Samoa and adverse blogging from an anonymous Samoan blogger “O Le Palemia” have increased detractors’ hopes of change.
Tuila’epa is a prime target, and I would not be surprised in the slightest if the pressure has been getting to him and his recent illness is a consequence of taking the heat. He is aging; some of what’s been coming out will have been rather uncomfortable for him and he’s certainly past his prime. That said though Samoans do support their leaders way more than those in the West, generally letting them “have their day” and swooping for the goodies only after they have gone.
There are two distinct political and social sectors of Samoan society – those that vote (on-island) and those that can’t being (mostly off-island) the Samoan diaspora and those born and bred off-shore. Tuila’epa works his magic in the former. I in the latter. This means that Tui can “buy” loyalty on-island through political means. I however “buy” loyalty by speaking it like it is to those who recognise that something is a teensy wheensey little bit wrong back in Paradise.
Samoans as a rule don’t go deep. Those who understand the political dynamics of leading a country are few and far between. This is seen in the rural villages of Samoa where the typical answers to the questions, “Who did you vote for & why?” is answered according to what a certain candidate has done for them, personally. Values, integrity, abstracts – forget it! Just WIIFM!
Now this is an observation not a criticism – Samoa is little different to others in this regard!
So the way a Christian views the world is through the Word of God – the bible. I write from a Christian perspective as long-time readers will already know.
One of the really interesting things about the way that God handles evil is that He actually doesn’t fight it. In bible school and in myriads of social situations we come to see a fight between good and evil, yet this is not an accurate picture of reality, and we need to understand this as it sets the scene for how we as Christians should respond to evil, in Samoa’s case the corruption that plagues their society. Corruption within their leadership is coming out more and more as people like OLP and myself show the world reality in Samoan society, but while there are political waves of corruption over the years as one crook after another gets into power and has their day in the limelight on the stage (thank you Billy Shakespeare for the prompt on that one) sin, evil continues generation after generation.
The reason is that the primary forces are the same and are never dealt with. Ungodliness exists and is defended, reinforced and perpetuated no matter who is at the helm. Dealing to this effectively requires wisdom, understanding and insight. Bear with me as we did deeper.
When you flick the man at the top (at this point it’s Tuila’epa) all you do is create a leadership vacuum and the next cockroach comes out of hiding and sticks his or her head up to take over. Their big-talk and lies, suck the people in and then after a while (or a long while if they are good at the political game like Tui is) they shuffle on or are shuffled on.
Isaiah Chapter 3 talks about how the people get the leaders they deserve. People, society, the individuals who make up a given society empower politicians, priests or chiefs. They all (all three power and control systems in Samoan society) gain their power from submission of individuals. They CLAIM that their power comes from above, or from the authority of Democracy, or (in this case) the Samoan culture. Tuila’epa has many times referred to his appointment as a divine appointment as if he has his power from God. Likewise the Priests and Ministers and Pastors who seen to require business-class or first-class travel, big houses, churches and new cars. High Chiefs who use fear to control do the same.
Power is obtained by the few FROM the masses – individuals who have abdicated their authority (and responsibilities) to others.
Now when Jesus came, He taught took us back to a personal accountability and a personal responsibility. He short-circuited all the control systems of the day and showed the incredible power and logic of simply listening to the Father and being obedient to Him. He never fought evil – not once. He countered temptation with the Word of god – simply speaking the truth. He called the crooks by their correct descriptions but let them continue with their skullduggery when He could have zapped them from the planet in a click of His fingers. He simply did what He knew was right and twelve men spread the word when He departed . . . three thousand men, women and children on Pentecost never fought evil . . .they simply spoke the truth; “Me too!” “Me too!” “Me too!” paid the price . . . and the known world was turned upside down.
The point here is that overthrowing one corrupt leader will simply bring the next fool into power. Fighting evil is a mug’s game. Standing up and naming and shaming evil for what it is however, will create and environment where an entire society sees it for what it really is. This then creates the environment that leaders are more likely to comply with biblical values and leadership is less centralised.
Think for a moment about Tuila’epa’s long-term immorality with his Mistress Sonja. For more than a decade the PM has been mucking around, protecting and lifting a floosie to a top job in his administration, all the while claiming that Samoa is founded upon God and that he’s got God’s blessing in what he decides and decrees! I’ll never forget the Tourism Exchanges where Sonja stood and claimed that Samoa was founded upon God then gave glowing testimonial to a Minister for saying a prayer. WTF?!
Sure it took one Palagi to write a book and get evicted from the country to make a difference but is there anyone in Samoa now who doesn’t know the score any more? Are there increasing numbers of Samoans across the globe plugging into the facts that these guys are crooks?
So can societal actually change occur in Samoa, where personal responsibility is abdicated to family and semi-communal living under Fa’a Samoa? You betcha! Is it easy and will it happen in a week, month or year or two? Not likely but as the Western ways return with the influence of the Samoan diaspora, yes, you will see, with generational influence, an increase of godliness and a depowering of the ugly self-interest so visible in current Samoan politics.
There is a lot more to this too . . . Samoa does not exist in a vacuum. It fits into the global spiritual and political environment. Political leaders have their hands tied with NWO compliance required in order to be a part of the global political environment. Fishing rights MUST be traded for Climate Change monies. Lending from the central banks by way of an unbiblical interest-bearing Legal Tender monetary system is essential at present. United Nations compliance is required, especially for smaller nation states like Samoa unless they are enormously advanced and independent (none are yet) so it is inevitable that the nation must sell its sovereignty for filthy lucre.
The huge debt that Tuila’epa has saddled with the country is nothing different to that which most other countries have as well . . . you can’t just ping one nation’s leaders for the entire sins of the world. BUT there is something that people can do – be obedient to Him. That is within the reach of ALL Samoans, on and off-island. If they stand back and ping their PM for bonking his Mistress and feeding his family the cushy jobs, then they themselves knock off the girl next door, or pocket an extra few items from the factory floor on their way out at the end of the day . . . how can they expect Samoa to ever learn, grow in faith or change?
Put a good man in charge of a bunch of crooks and guess what happens to him? He’ll be taken out within 3 years. Speak to the Master! Likewise Samoa.
But God is in control. He has done the work on the cross. The Lord sent the Holy Spirit so we have the power. It’s up to the little people, one by one to pay the price, to humble themselves and to do the right thing – whatever that may be.
I speak to a lot of people – including Samoans, many of them from the Samoan diaspora, some many generations out of the country. I love their increasing wisdom, and heart for their country of origin. I think there is a huge generational change taking place now where it is clear that the older generation has screwed up and the people are coming back in, wanting to clean the place up and make a difference. I support this move. I want to see it succeed but it will only achieve its objectives when it aligns itself with God and what He wants.
In 2009, I believe that the Lord showed me that Samoa has a unique role in His work, but it will be only a small percentage of those that He will be using. For every twenty people who want to do good things for Samoa, if there is only one that can hear Him and who actually DO what he wants then Samoa will be truly transformed. It will take time as people like the current PM pass on and so too his anointed prodigies in crime, but as the democratic/financial beast implodes, it could be that Samoa is ready for leading others. Many a mighty country can and will learn things from Samoa.
The key is not to fight evil, but to let it have its way . . . it will always implode. Our job is to expose it so that it does implode, then to do what He wants us to do . . . nothing less, nothing more, individually. That starts with Ewen Me. Today.
Let’s do the right thing eh?