Suppressing the voice of dissent

16 February 2019

Dear Editor,

 

You should embrace the thriving democratic principles now showing in the Samoan political system.

The right to dissent is one of the corner stones of democracy.

The PM is prone to allergic reactions against dissent voices on social media has now limited the democratic freedom of others to expression by amending and establishing suppression laws under the guise of libel. This is immature in my opinion.

The idea of restrictions in casting votes only within the shores of Samoa is a form of voting suppression against the right to vote of overseas Samoans. That is pretty shallow and completely lacking in in depth foresight on your part.

I do not condone the throwing of pig heads or threatening the PM’s wellbeing, that kind of dissent expression is only prevalent in violent areas elsewhere in the world, where violence of guns and civil wars settle matters of dispute. It is vile in my opinion.

People need to understand the roots of maintaining the status quo, the govt in setting the impoverished scene within the communities around Samoa and exploiting the local cultural context should be addressed.

Dissent by making people in the villages and districts become well aware of their matai status and the political ramifications of their shortsighted votes which are far often influenced by the sway of the village council and the last minute bribery to uplift some financial constraints, should be reinforced and strengthened.

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By addressing these issues at the grassroots level would only see change come about.

Social media helped the American public understand the inner workings of their corporate biased congress and POTUs, the same can be utilised by the Samoan people in spreading the message to those ignorant of their responsibilities around voting where the incumbent govt is monitoring and exploiting effectively to maintain power.

Suppressing unnecessary dissent in violence should be regulated and criminalized.

Whether claims on social media are truthful or seemed libelous, protecting expressions of opinions should be paramount as it should generate conversation and answers from the PM and his government, not defensiveness by simply limiting citizens’ rights to express.

If a claim is untrue, it is the PM’s duty to clarify and explain.

This is called transparency and accountability in governance, by placing their feet in the fire.

In this case, the PM just opted for the easy fix, kill the fire by pouring legal ramifications against those who raised it.

Let us pray that no government in Samoa would again make the same mistake that the PM and his HRPP has now made - suppressing the “peaceful” voice of dissent of her citizens.

 

Ropati V.

 

16 February 2019

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