RADIO NZ – 5:43 pm on 12 October 2020
In a weekend memo, American Samoa’s Governor has ordered that cabinet members, who are “actively criticising the work of the Administration” submit their resignations or, he will act accordingly.
In the statement Lolo Matalasi Moliga demanded “loyalty, faithfulness and allegiance from his cabinet members” as the political campaign season heats up with three weeks to go until the November elections.
The governor’s memo was titled, ‘Loyalty and Commitment to the Administration’ and told cabinet members that personal involvement in campaigning was their right protected by law.
However it also said it was “natural and appropriate to expect loyalty and support”.
Lolo is not standing in the gubernatorial elections as he has reached his term limit, coming to power in 2012.
The Samoa News reported it’s unclear who the memo was targeting but some cabinet directors, who were political appointees of the governor, had been visibly active in a number of campaign events.
It also came with the government facing an unprecedented budget impasse.
The Governor and Fono were at odds regarding a budget law to fund the government for the new fiscal year which began on 1 October.
The Fono reduced Lolo’s budget by $US6.5 million but the governor refused to sign the resulting $US459.4 million budget bill that was sent back.
A special 15-day session of the legislature was called to work on the budget with government operations ceased while the deliberations continued.