Years, months and now it’s only a matter of days to the General Elections.
In Samoa today, the election excitement is growing. The Samoa Observer caught up with some of those who are voting for the first time and asked them about their opinions on why they think voting is important.
Aveleana Tupae Esera, a 23-year-old from the village of Tulaele said that Elections mean a lot to her.
Aveleana majored in Politics and Linguistics when she was studying in Fiji and she said that she understands very well why people should vote.
“Especially in a democracy, people need to speak up through their votes,” she said.
“The government is elected by our people for our people. The decision is done by you, for you.” She believes that everyone should vote for someone to voice their opinion because they have the right to do it.
“As citizens of this country, we should all vote. Because if we don’t vote, then why should we complain? Especially us, the youth of Samoa, we need to participate in the decision making of our country by voting for the better.
“Enough voices in unison can elect our leaders, reaffirm or even change the course of our government.”
Looking ahead, she said she’s excited.
“I want to see a government that looks ahead of time. We need leaders that can foresee what’s best for the nation in the years to come.”
Another first time voter is 21-year-old Feiloaiga Ali’itaeao from the villages of Safune and Moata’a.
She says everyone should vote.
“Personally, I believe that everyone should vote, because everyone has an opinion,” she said. “Samoa has a democratic system of government which means that we have the ability and right to choose who should lead.”
She said people would feel better if they vote and Samoans should revel in the fact they have a say in what goes on in the country’s political climate.
Moreover, Feiloaiga believes that when less than half the country is voting regularly, there is a big problem.
“We then need to ask whether this is democracy or not,” she said.
“What concerns me is the fact that most of the people who don’t vote are young.
“That is why I am very excited to be voting this year and I have to say that I’ve been impressed with all the efforts by our government and other organizations that have done a lot of work to encourage people to vote.”
Feiloaiga suggested that if one does not feel the need to vote, he or she shall never speak badly about the decisions made by the officials.
“If you want change, then vote for change, don’t just say things then do nothing to make it happen. Speak up through voting and then your voice will be heard.”
Silia Moeaia-Leota, a 22-year-old from the village of Faia’ai in Savai’i, also spoke about the importance of voting.
“Through elections, citizens have the ability to decide on who represents them in government,” she said. “It is a basic process that keeps our system of government working and by voting, you are making our voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate.”
Silia believes that Samoa is quite fortunate that people have the right to vote for their leaders.
“Other countries around the world are deprived from their right to choose their leaders. However, we get the chance to vote and our youth have the power to make decisions that can affect the country.
“So if you don’t like the way our country is run and yet you don’t vote, then you’re at fault not the government.”