Savai'i voters skeptical of new poll

Tuesday night's order by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Sualauvi Va'aletoa II, to hold a snap second election on 21 May was not welcomed by voters on the big island of Savai'i. 

The news that voters will again head to the polling booths this month was the main topic of discussion amongst Savai'i residents on Wednesday morning. 

Most all of the voters and village elders interviewed by the Samoa Observer expressed disapproval at the news. 

One high chief from Salelologa, Taotua Ioane Matamua, does not welcome the idea for a fresh election. 

"I don’t support this decision to have a fresh election," he told the Samoa Observer. 

"We all prayed hard before the election on the 9 of April and I believe that the decision we got was the answer to our prayers. 

"So to say that we will disregard the result of that election is another way of objecting to God’s will."

While Taotua said he has been a strong supporter of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) over the years, he is of the belief that the decision to have another election is not the right call to make. 

"There are so many factors to consider and to think that this is a democratic country and the voice of the people matter, I strongly believe our leaders should listen to what the people want," he said. 

 "What they're asking for is too much to take in. There are a lot of things to look at and that is something they should have done before they came up with the decision to have another election. 

"I just hope that they had the right intention behind this call. That's what I am praying and hoping for. But you know God is not blind. 

"He is watching from above and the truth will come out in his own perfect timing."

Another matai from Saipipi, Tuaipulotu Tuita’ase, also share the same sentiments. 

"To be brief, I don’t support the decision [for a re-election].

"The call itself says a lot about those behind the decision."

Tuaipulotu believes that the decision to have a fresh election should have happened later rather than sooner. 

"What we should’ve done was to wait patiently for the results of the court cases then maybe, if after all that and we are still tied with 26 all, then maybe that would be the perfect time to have another election. 

"This is because there are a lot of things they should’ve considered before making such a big decision. 

"For example, who is going to pay for the fares of our voters residing in Upolu? I am sure they do want to vote again and did not think we would have another election but now that we will have to, they are now forced to travel to Savai’i again.

"They will have to bring their families, pay for the fares, hotels and basically do the whole thing all over again. I also feel sorry for the Electoral Commissioner and his team who have been working tirelessly not only during the last election but also leading up to that. 

"They spent a lot of time making sure that we have a peaceful and smooth election. I’m sure they sacrificed their time with their families and children while working to make sure Samoa have a peaceful election. 

"So it’s sad to see that they now have to go through the whole process again."

Lastly, Tuaipulotu said that if Samoa do head to the polls at the end of this month, he is likely to have a change of heart and not vote for the candidate and party he voted for in April's election. 

"This is because I have seen the aftermath of April's election and all the wrong moves the caretaker government made and it's sending out a different message to us. 

"A lot has happened after the elections and with this call, I am not so sure I would want the same government to lead Samoa into the next five years."

Another senior chief, Alofipo Peteli II, also refuses to throw in his support to have another election. 

"I am not up for it," he said. 

"It’s a lot of work and I don’t think it’s the best solution. I honestly think they should’ve waited for the court cases."

However, he remains hopeful. 

"But if this is what our leaders think is the best way to get us a new government, then so be it. Let’s all wait and see how things will turn out in the next two weeks. 

"I personally believe that instead of complaining, let us pray for God’s peace and love over our beloved Samoa. We are a country founded on God.

" As leaders, we need to pray to God for his guidance and protection upon all of us. We all want what's best for this country, and we do hope that things will turn out well."

Another voter, Mata'u Fasi from Safune also expressed lukewarm sentiments about voting again. 

"To me, it's just too much," she said.

"This will only stir up trouble and divide the whole country. But I think as a democratic nation, this is the perfect time for all of us to unite and stand up against this decision. 

"We have come a long way and the country have waited long enough for the results, so we can finally have a new government to lead the country. 

"We were so close to getting the results of April's election and now we have to do the whole thing all over again. It's just not right."


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