O’o, elections and pork barreling

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Dear Editor,

Re: Total silence in Minister’s row

There is some benefit in changing the Samoan version of pork barreling from the pre-election campaign o’o to the post election pork barreling election promises for the appropriation of government expenditures upon local nu’u projects. 

In this instance, pork barreling is considered a norm in Samoan political culture, in western societies, such as New Zealand, U.S.A. and Australia, pork barreling whilst it is often a political campaign strategy in winning elections, it is considered as manipulative electioneering that is to the detriment of the democratic objectives of the entire nation. 

In such a self-serving interest of the village, as it is noted with the Samoan political traditions, in Western societies this is considered undemocratic and elitist. 

That is to say, that only rich and powerful families whose chosen heirs become Faipule and Pulenu’u, and not the brightest and the best politicians. 

Instead, in a Trump like tradition of businessmen buying their way into the Oval Office, Samoan politicians are elected through pork barreling and promising to deliver to their respective villages what they want in their own self interest and it is not necessarily and it is most of the case, for the benefit of government and for the nation as a whole. 

Instead Samoans, as often the case, will rely upon foreign governments and N.G.Os in order to shore up their very inefficient government appropriation and delivery processes through injections of foreign aid and technical, political, educational, infrastructural and geo-spatial support, from foreign sources. 

In the meantime, the local Faipule must deliver upon his promises through his o’o. Herein lies the rub with regards to the politics of pork barreling. 

In Western Societies pork barreling is frowned upon and is considered Undemocratic for the entire nation.

 In Samoa, its ok and it is expected by each and every respective Samoan village, aua, i la alaga upu o Samoa, O le ala o le pule, o le tautua. Ia manuia le fa’asoasoaga. 

 

Tim Tufuga

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