Togiola calls for peace & harmony during campaign
Gov. Togiola Tulafono has called on residents of the territory to maintain peace and harmony during their campaigns, instead of carrying out disgraceful actions that are disrespectful to American Samoa’s democratic election process.
The governor’s statement came as the result of more reports coming from members of various campaign committees who are still faced with problems pertaining to their campaign signs being damaged, defaced or vandalized.
Samoa News reported early last week that the Department of Public Safety has received several complaints from candidates running for public office, and from their supporters, of such actions.
Late last week, there was also the report of a fire at a container in Pago Pago, and the damaged goods included campaign t-shirts for the Faoa and Taufete’e gubernatorial team.
Speaking on his weekend radio program, Togiola says he feels free, not having to be involved in election campaigning this year, and he was very happy to be standing from the outside looking in. However, he says the issues relating to campaigning that have surfaced in the territory as reported by the news media are disappointing.
Togiola said these disrespectful and disgraceful actions, show the world that “our minds are not mature enough” for this democratic process and are not fit for international politics.
He said these actions do not happen without cause, adding that they happen because of weakness in the role of parents and weakness in the role of village and church leaders in the community, resulting in people become weak, who then commit disrespectful actions. He said that when there is weakness in the leadership in villages, churches and within families then the worse comes out in the open.
He called on all of them in leadership roles to urge their residents and relatives not to cause trouble, to be patient and to keep peace and harmony within the territory throughout this election year.
Let the candidates running for office make their statements, because it is what American Samoa wanted — to have a political system like it has today through the election process, he said.
Togiola urged everyone to accept gracefully and with happiness that there are a lot of candidates to chose from in this election year, but not to use disgraceful actions that raise questions of whether American Samoa is mature enough to have this democratic election system.
The governor concluded by wishing American Samoa a good and peaceful campaign and election year. Togiola is not seeking another term in office because he is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive four-year term in office.
So far, there are five confirmed gubernatorial teams in this year’s race for governor and lieutenant governor. Samoa News understands that at least one or two more gubernatorial teams will make their official announcements this summer.