By-Election Independent Candidate Raises Issues and Concerns

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Translated from FaaSamoa by Ganasavea Manuia Tafeaga. The Independent candidate for the upcoming Vaimauga 3 by-election has expressed three areas of concern in the lead up to voting day next Friday 24th February 2023.

In an interview with local media, Feagaimaalii Bruce Toomalatai Utaileuo took issue with the Prime Minister’s photo being used on the FAST party candidate’s billboard.

Feagaimaalii expressed the view that the Prime Minister’s photo should not be used for campaign billboards.

Independent Candidate, Feagaimaalii Bruce Toomalatai Utaileuo says he and Samau should also be able to use the PM’s photo on their billboards.

However, he said the Prime Minister is for all of Samoa, and if the Honorable Fiame Naomi Mataafa’s photo was to be on the FAST party candidate billboard and campaign images, then he, too, should be able to use it for his own campaign.

“Talofa ua faatasina, o le Palemia o Samoa atoa. O Fiame o le tatou Palemia, e le o se Palemia a se vaega faaupufai poo se pāti.”

“Peitai ua maitauina ua iai le ata o le Palemia i laupapa faalauiloa mo le sui tauva a le FAST. Afai o lea, sa tatau foi la ona aumai le ata o le Palemia i la’u laupapa faailoilo, poo faailoilo a Samau, auā o le palemia mo tagata uma ma Samoa atoa.”

Feagaimaalii Bruce had run the April 2021 general election under the banner of SSIG. He ranked third behind the HRPP and FAST party candidates, with a total of 66 votes.

A second issue raised by Feagaimaalii Bruce was his strong opposition to the use of acreage at Alaoa for the extension of a dam. According to Feagaimaalii, this will cause problems to the residents of his constituency who live further downhill.

The Independent Candidate said the risks include damage to crops, livestock, homes and most especially, to the lives of the people.

“A oo ina pā pe faaletonu le faatanoa lea, e ono telē se aafiaga, e le gata o le aafia ai o mea totō, o mea fafaga, lafu manu, o maota ma laoa aemaise o le soifua o tagata lautele.”

Thirdly the Independent Candidate aired his frustration with the $150,000 tala which had been released to the Vaimauga 3 District Development Committee earlier this week.

“That is not enough. The whole funds should be released to our constituency for programmes to help our people cope with the high cost of living,” said Feagaimaalii.

Finally, Feagaimaalii called on the support of Vaimauga 3 voters as the by-election date nears.

The electoral seat for Vaimauga 3 was vacated with the passing of former Minister of Finance and former Minister of Works, Honorable Tapunu’u Papalii Niko Lee Hang.

Feagaimaalii is up against FAST party candidate, Lautimuia Afoa Uelese Vaai, who resigned his position as CEO of the state-owned Samoa Shipping Services to run the by-election.  The opposition Human Rights Protection Party have also announced their candidate for the by-election as Samau Solitamaalii Timani Samau, 59, from the village of Matautu.

Pre-voting is on Wednesday 22 February and the main polling day is Friday 24 February 2023.