Aiga-ile-tai has a new Member of Parliament.
He is Mulipola Lei’ataua Laki, the Owner of Advance Cargo Agency.
It was Mulipola’s first time contesting the election and he won the race defeating Ifopo Matia Filisi by 1,346 votes to 790.
Mulipola told the Samoa Observer he is “humbled” and “honoured” to be elected as the new Member of Parliament for the constituency.
But he said being a Member of Parliament was never on his list of things he wanted to achieve in life.
“Never in my imagination did I think that I would become a Member of Parliament,” he said.
He was asked last year by the Mulipola family, Aiga Sa Mulipola, to contest the election and he obliged.
“I agreed because I have faith in the decision made by my family and I believed that they would have my back along the way and they would give me their support. And I was right. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the support from my family, village and constituency.
“I never saw this coming, but I guess God had planned this for me and I know with him, I will and I can do anything.”
So Mulipola had twelve months to prepare for the election. Reflecting on his pre-election journey, Mulipola said there were many challenges.
“I had to be well-prepared because entering the election is not an easy thing. You don’t just enter because you feel like it. You have to prepare yourself, stay committed and focused.
“To me, it was not easy, but I guess this is God’s will and like they say, you reap what you sow... So I am grateful to God for His blessing.
“It’s an honour for me to be given the great opportunity to represent my people in Parliament. I am here on behalf of my constituency and I will do my best to represent them with humility.”
Looking ahead, Mulipola said he has a long list of all the areas that needs improvement in his constituency. Education is one of his priorities. One of the problems faced by the schools in the constituency is not having the right facilities to assist the students with their studies.
“Especially in Science,” he said. “We need more science teachers and we also need a science lab with all the scientific equipment for our students.
“I fully support the push by the government to have childhood education in Samoa because I believe that if we start from the bottom, we will benefit from it in the future.”
Climate change and the problems it creates – including the possibility of relocation for the outer islands – are also on his agenda.
“We need to have a secure area where our people can go to whenever there is a natural disaster. We have to provide safer ground for them during such times.”
Moreover, he is also looking at developing the wharfs for both Apolima and Manono.
“It is not as safe as it should be and we need to work on making sure that our wharfs are in good condition to cater for our people. We need to fix the lights for all the wharfs because it is not safe at the moment. We need to have proper lights for the wharfs especially during night time.”
Other areas such as the distribution of good quality water and improvements in infrastructure are also included in Mulipola’s plans for the next five years.
Lastly, because of the increasing number of constituents in the constituency of Aiga-ile-tai, Mulipola believes that they should have another Member of Parliament.
“I think it’s best to have two Members of Parliament for our constituency because there’s quite a lot of people in the constituency and a lot of work has to be done.”
Mulipola is a native of the village of Salua Manono. He is 46-years-old, married to Alaisa Ah Leong-Mulipola and they have eight children.
He is an old student of Salua Manono Primary School, A’ana Secondary School and Samoa College.
He is a graduate from the National University of Samoa. He was an employee at the Samoa Customs for 9 years, before working at the Seair Trans Forwarding and Customs for two years.
He then started up his own business which is located at the Wesley Arcade Building called the Advance Cargo Agency which has been running for 13 years now.
He acknowledged the support of his constituency and everyone who voted for him.
“Thank you so much for trusting me and for believing in me,” he said. “Especially to all the clergy who prayed for me, my families, friends and all my supporters. Thank you very much.”
He also extended his gratitude to the former M.P of the constituency, Ifopo Matia Filisi.
“I want to thank him for all his hard work for the past five years and for all the contribution he made to the constituency.”