The Office of the Electoral Commission held an ava ceremony yesterday morning as part of their Five Year Strategic Plan that is about to be launched.
According to the Commissioner of the Electoral Office, Faimalomatumua Matthew Lemisio, one of the most important things that they need to excel in is how to communicate with people.
“As you all know that our work requires meeting people of the village and in our plan we have identified the importance of our connection with the community,” he said.
“It’s important to us that we know how to speak when we meet the villagers because as we all know it is how well we speak in our faasamoa, that makes our work easier."
“So if our Office goes out to the villages and they are not well prepared then this will affect our work so that is the va fealoa’i with the villages.”
Faimalomatumua went on to say that they have begun working on those plans.
“We also have a project that sees our staff going out to the villages to review the election roll to see all those who have passed away and remove their names from the roll,” he said.
“So our main focus now for the next five years, is to tidy up the roll: updating and reviewing it constantly and especially to make sure that by 2021, there won’t be a lot of work that needs to be done.”
In the election this year, the Commission found that many of the candidates and their committees were pressuring other people to come and register in districts that they are not supposed to be registered in.
“So part of our review is that we have already given out the roll to all of Upolu and Savaii because from the Office’s point of view, we don’t know who lives in what village,” he said.
“[But] the only people who really know about this are the alii and faipule. So immediately after the election the Office staff went around the islands to take the roll to all the villages and we asked them to have a look at the roll and see if there were people who are not supposed to be in that roll and to table an objection which is allowed under the law."
“Unfortunately we haven’t heard from most of the villages but we are urging members of the country to use this opportunity to help our work because one thing is for sure are that the election is way too important to be incorrect.”
He said that their office wants everyone to have that sense of ownership of the election.
"It’s their process, and it’s their opportunity to voice their thoughts through voting without any interference,” said the Electoral Commissioner.
“We believe that the outcome of the next election in 2021 depends on the work that we do now and that is why we have that strategic plan that we are preparing."
“We will invite the media to have a look at the work that we are preparing for the next five years because we see them as our key stakeholder."
“One of our key indicators is the improvement of our aganu’u and fa’asamoa. This work is ongoing work. We will again have it next year and that is what today is all about.”