Youth Leader clears air on election reports

The leader of a Non-governmental Organization called Logoipuialii Youth Empowerment Organization has turned to the Samoa Observer to clear the air about allegations of him contesting in the upcoming election from the Alataua West in Savai'i. 

Moeona Folasa, aged 24 from the villages of Falelima, Asau, Toamua, and Vaitele has been accused by fake accounts Facebook saying he is running for the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.). 

Since the posts were made on Social Media, Mr. Folasa said he has been cyber-bullied by people on Facebook because of the accusations made against him. 

Nevertheless, the accusations have affected not only his family, his village, and district but also the organization under his leadership. 

"There are rumors and social media posts defaming me and ruining my name," he told the Samoa Observer. 

"They have accused me of running as a candidate for the Alataua district running for the H.R.P.P. in the upcoming election. The post went as far as saying that the Alataua West has agreed to have me as a candidate.

"That is why I have made the decision to speak up and set the record straight."

Mr. Folasa said the main reason why he has turned to the newspaper, is to clear his name and his family's name from these false rumours. 

"The thing I am worried about the most is that I might get in trouble with the village or my family might suffer from it as the accusations and posts have included the name of my village and district. 

"Moreover, there also criticized the Logoipuiali'i Youth group that I am the leader of but these are baseless accusations."

Said Mr. Folasa, this isn't the first time he has been a subject of cyber-bullying on Facebook. 

"Two years back, the O.L.P. Facebook page also made false allegations against me and the Logoipuialii Youth Group, saying the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa has ordered me to set up this organization to defend the government. 

"But that is not the reason why we started the organization. We started this organization to empower the youths of Samoa and encourage them to speak up. 

"However, I did not take to heart what people said; it didn't really matter to me as I only focused on how I can influence and impact the lives of the youth of Samoa through Logoipuialii.

"But now that they have made up accusations about me contesting in the election, I have to speak up and make sure people, especially my family and villages are not misled by these allegations. 

"I do not know who is behind these fake pages and who is creating and spreading these rumors.

"But they need to know that it has damaged my name and reputation. 

"I've had some family members calling me, especially my uncles and aunties, they are surprised and are angry because they never agreed for me to run in the election. 

"When they saw the posts, they were shocked and were disappointed as our family is led by the High Chief of the village of Falelima. 

"They are concerned about the same reason I am concerned about, because even though these are only circulating on social media, it will reach the village and the district somehow, and it might fall back on me and my family. 

"That is why I am disappointed and have turned to the media to clear my family's name before anything happens. 

"The big question that comes to mind when I saw these posts, how can I run when I am not even a matai? I don't want my family, village, and organization to think that the accusations circulating on social media are true. 

"They are wrong. 

"The other thing, I wanted to clear the good name of Logopuialii Youth Org and the work that they do for the youths of Samoa."

Logopuialii was founded in 2017 by Mr. Folasa and other youths. Their main aim is to empower the youth through creating awareness and outreach programs. 

They work at finding strategies to address some of the social issues affecting the youths and conduct counseling work for the youths. 

It is a member of the Samoa National Youth Council and is working in collaboration with NGOs and businesses. 

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