Namulauulu’s dream, HRPP’s dominance and rugby

Dreams do come true. Ask Namulau’ulu Papali’i Leota, who contested the Fa’asaleleaga No. 2 by-election under the flag of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), and he’ll tell you all about it.

A businessman by trade, the long-serving General Manager of Federal Pacific Insurance and the President of the Samoa Rugby Union, was one of two HRPP candidates in the race. The other HRPP man was former Opposition party member, Papali’i Lio Masipau, who made the interesting switch at the beginning of the year. 

In the end, the official results confirmed a landslide victory for the former Manu Samoa Manager who polled 1208 votes. The second runner up was independent candidate, Mailemalo Eneliko Pau with 685 votes, followed by Papali’i Masipau with 564 votes. History was also made for the newest political party, Samoa First Party with their first candidate, Lema’i Faioso Sione, collecting 14 votes.

Now, Namulauulu, set to become the newest Member of Parliament, continues the HRPP’s dominance in political circles in this country. 

Contrary to a lot of stuff that’s been said on social media and exposed publically about flaws, corruption and infighting with the HRPP regime, it doesn’t appear to have had any bearing on where in matters the most – with the voters. 

It’s quite interesting and we say this with a view of the next General Election which isn’t too far away. As this piece was being compiled, another member of HRPP will soon take his oath to serve not just his constituency but more importantly all the people of Samoa.  

If recent history is anything to judge by, the idea that even people who used to be opposition members are lining up for the HRPP ticket is fascinating. Whatever it is, Samoa's love affair with the HRPP looks set to continue. 

In any case, today is about Namulauulu, to who we offer our heartiest congratulations. We know it’s not the first time he’s run, having lost the last General Election to the late Pa’u Sefo Pa’u, but persistence, perseverance and the relentless pursuit of one’s calling does pay off. 

Suffice to say, this is not just a special moment for Namulauulu. It is equally a marvellous occasion for his wife, Maria, their children, families and all their supporters. Many people who have contested elections in Samoa know that when a matai makes the decision to run, it’s not an individual race. Everyone becomes involved which is why victory is especially sweet. 

Speaking after the election, Namulauulu said the result is a “dream come true.” He had a good reason.

“I have always wanted to be a politician,” he said. “I have been serving our people in the village, church and especially my extended family. The work done in the past has come to fruition and I am thankful.

 “Throughout the whole campaign, I was confident that God’s favour was upon me and I had faith. I am humbled to have won the hearts of my people.”

And now that he’s won, what’s in the pipeline? 

“I am happy with the confidence my constituency has in me and it’s evident, through their vote. After losing in the last election, to win in the middle of this Parliament term, is quite fulfilling,” he said.

“The next move is to prioritize the needs of the constituency in terms of infrastructure, health care, water issue etc, as we are not the only district that are vying for the government attention on what is needed in the villages.

“Today I tried not to be emotional, but I just couldn’t hold the tears of joy, all the work put into assuring that we succeed.”

Well we wish Namulauulu the best for his new journey. There are exciting times ahead – not to mention the challenges that come with the role. Indeed with greater power comes greater responsibilities, which Namulauulu will soon find out.

Looking at all the challenges confronting Samoa today on different fronts, the new Member of Parliament already has his work cut out. From his constituency and Savai’i’s standpoint, top of his list should be providing more employment opportunities for so many able-bodied men and women who are sitting idle doing nothing. That is one of the biggest problems in Samoa today, we have far too many men and women unemployed so all they do is sit around all day and wait for handouts.

Namulauulu is also not a stranger to the business community. His lengthy involvement with the Chamber of Commerce would have already given him an appreciation of the challenges confronting the private sector. He should feel duty bound to use his new found power to alleviate some of these challenges with the goal to make the private sector the true “engine of growth” for the economy, not cripple it as we’ve seen with some Government policies.

Lastly, as the President of the Samoa Rugby Union, well we don’t need to remind him about the issues there. And with the Rugby World Cup around the corner, it is understatement to say there is a lot of work to be done. 

But maybe now is the time for him, and many other politicians involved in rugby, to seriously consider letting go of their roles in the Union so they fully concentrate of governing this country. They've got to make up their minds about what they want to, rugby or the country.

Who knows, our rugby might even take off to another level without them? 

Congratulations to Namulauulu once again, God bless!  

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