A meaningful way to contribute to development in this country

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 February 2016, 12:00AM

Years, months, weeks and now it’s only a matter of days. 

That’s right folks, we are that close to the General Elections. 

As a matter of fact, only 17 more days to go and the people of this country will exercise their rights to choose their government for the next five years. 

It’s an exciting time and there is no doubt about that.

Take a look at the front page of the newspaper you are reading today for instance. Today is the Tautua Samoa Party’s turn to tell us what their plans are – should they win of course. They’ve got some interesting and thought provoking ideas in there.

A few days from now, the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) will get their chance to counter. And so the election fever continues. 

Same old, same old… some people will say. 

Well they’ve got a point in some respect. 

But we shouldn’t take times like this for granted. If anything it’s a welcome change that the government – and an intending government – takes the time to involve us in their plans.

The reality is that once the elections are over, members of the public are pretty much shut out of the planning process. 

But at least at this time, we are given an idea about what we can expect and most importantly we have the opportunity to say yes or no to the ideas that are being put forward through our vote.

Indeed, as expected, every candidate is putting their best foot forward promising heaven and earth for their voters. It’s fine. What else do we expect? 

It goes without saying that this is part and parcel of the game. Politics after all is about promising the world to get your foot in the door. It’s about winning power and doing whatever possible to keep it. 

Just take a look at some of the movements in our political sphere lately.

Come to think of it, a big part of the promises being made by candidates and current Members of Parliament is their commitment to do what’s right in the eyes of people and God. Poor God and how his name has been mentioned in vain countless times. 

Certainly the idea that candidates and incumbent Members of Parliament are talking about, justice and doing right is not a bad thing. 

This is especially so when it comes to blatant acts of wrongdoing, which should be addressed, solved and cleaned up.  We are talking about instances that have been screaming at us to correct and do something about – but which have remained unresolved. You might have guessed by now that we are talking about the need to rid this country of corruption we believe is holding us back.

The details are well known, we believe it is unnecessary to revisit in this piece.

Now, some of you might say that these allegations are old and they should be left in the past. Besides, isn’t it the Christian thing to do to forgive and forget? 

Of course we should forgive but forgiveness does not mean there are no consequences.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about public  figures who promised to do the right thing by God and by our people. That’s their oath. 

When you stop to consider some of things we are talking about, have they done the right thing? Has justice been done? Is there justice at all in this country? 

We’ve said this before and we will say it again. Out there in the Courts at Mulinu’u, there are mothers, fathers, loved ones being jailed for stealing as little as $50.

What about these millions then? Who should be held accountable for them?  We accept that these are hard questions. But they are necessary questions to think about as we prepare to head to the polls.

Let us remind our readers today that this culture of corruption is largely responsible for poverty and hardship in this country. 

It doesn’t matter what fanciful words they try to describe efforts to end poverty, it can never be eradicated unless corruption is dealt with. 

Why? Corruption robs members of the public, it makes them poor, it makes them hungry. Indeed, eliminating corruption should be the priority for anybody wishing to stand in the election. 

We repeat; we believe that’s the best contribution they can make to the development of their constituencies and this country. 

That’s what we think anyways. What about you?

Have a productive Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 February 2016, 12:00AM

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