Woman MP “shocked” at Committee’s move to eliminate 10 percent quota provision for women


Woman Member of Parliament of Alataua West, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tuuau, expressed her disappointment over the recommendation by a Parliamentary Committee to eliminate the 10 percent quota provision for women. 

This provision is outlined in Article 44 subsection (1a) of the Constitution of Samoa, guaranteeing Women MP’s seats in Parliament. The  Commission of Inquiry in the 2021 general election has recommended revisiting this clause, as the last General Election resulted in a hung Parliament and started the political crisis, which lasted months. In Parliament yesterday, Chairman of the Committee Deputy Speaker Auapaau Mulipola Aloitafua noted their committee had denied the majority of the recommendations by the Commission. 

According to Auapa’au, the Committee factored in submissions during the public hearings, whereas most views did not support the 10 percent quota provision for women’s representation. 

Ali’imalemanu took the floor when the opportunity was presented in Parliament and said there were 57 recommendations by the Commission, yet only 12 were upheld by the Committee, yet considering the credentials of the Commission members, they hold Ph.D. degrees. She found this puzzling. 

The Woman MP zeroed in on two issues: restoring the traditional constituencies versus electoral constituencies and removing the Women MP 10 percent quota. According to Ali’imalemanu, the 10 percent quota is not required for every parliament term unless it is required if there are not enough women, and requested not to remove that provision from the Constitution. 

She was one of the female MPs who entered Parliament through the 10 percent quota. Ali’imalemanu expressed her disbelief that the Commission did not recommend removing this provision. Instead, they suggested revisiting options. 

She said the Commissioner factored in the importance of this provision of having Women MPs. Also, this provision in the Constitution has placed Samoa the globe as one of the unique Parliaments in the world in empowering Women to have a seat in Parliament. 

Aliimalemanu said India’s Parliament had followed Samoa’s quota by having 30 percent for Women MP in their Country, and India’s government referenced Samoa’s unique 10 percent quota. 

She pointed to the Commission’s report that 398 people made submissions regarding the women’s seat issue, which only represents 0.19 percent of the country’s population.

According to Ali’imalemanu, from that number, only 240 people, or 0.12 percent, did not support the women quota. She pointed out the irony that the Committee is basing its consideration over the decision by 0.12 percent of Samoa’s population.

Furthermore, Ali’imalemanu said she is shocked the Commission did not say to eliminate this provision, yet it’s apparent this decision came from within Parliament. Furthermore, the Woman MP acknowledged the Deputy Leader of the HRPP, Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre, who rejected the recommendation by the Committee, and it is apparent that only he supports having Women MPs in Parliament. 

Ali’imalemanu said it’s ironic that Parliamentary members say they support the Women in Parliament during their speeches, yet that is not the case. Aliialemanu further commented they should have just come out and said that women are unnecessary in Parliament. 

It’s evident from the report the Committee has set aside the Commission’s recommendation and the consideration by the Committee to the 0.12 percent of those who opted to remove the provision for women from the Constitution.