Empowering women drives F.A.S.T. candidate
A mother-of-nine is making another run for politics at next year’s election and the 68-year-old is campaigning on a platform to improve women’s financial situations.
Lolomatauama Eseta Mataituli is standing for election for Aana Alofi No. 2.
From Fasito'o Uta she will be contesting a seat held by one of only two Members of Parliament who entered the Legislative Assembly under the Tautua Samoa Party flag, Ili Setefano Ta’ateo.
She recently registered to stand for election under the banner of Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.). Her first time contesting was the General Election in 2016.
Lolomatauama says there are three other candidates she will be vying against, all of whom are under the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.).
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Lolomatauama said the number one priority on her agenda for her constituency is the development of the economic situation of the village’s women, specifically those who perform the duties of a housewife or family caretaker.
She is a teacher by profession.
Lolomatauama said the Government has done "nothing" for the women committees in the constituency in the past five years - and that reflects a need for a change.
She previously contested the last election but as an independent candidate.
Women are the core of homes, they need to be brought together to develop their capacities to make better homes for their families, Lolomatauama said.
"Right now, everyone is going their own way, doing whatever they want. But if we brought them together and have some developments to work on and build a togetherness spirit, much can be achieved," Lolomatauama said.
"This way there is a chance for mothers to share, and for us to discuss some issues. Most of the time these M.P.s do not ask. But with me, I want to be able to talk to them, share with me what they want."
She said that it seemed as though mothers were being held down and their voices were not being in the villages.
"And when I ask, it's always asking about possible ways to better their families. That's the first thing; if families are good, children are good also," Lolomatauama said.
"And I agree, because once families and children are good, then church and villages come after."
Lolomatauama originally registered for the Samoa National Democratic Party (S.N.D.P.), but due to the alliance between the two parties, she will now be bearing the F.A.S.T. banner at the election.
She says she is a strong believer in the power change, something she says needs to be realised in Government.
"To put it simply, change the Government. Their works are good, but with F.A.S.T.'s incoming power, they will further enhance it," said Lolomatauama.
"They will develop the areas that we see fit, areas that we know the current Government has not reached, the areas that have space for improvement."
Lolomatauama, compared Samoa to a fale (traditional Samoan house) with slanted poles.
But the current Government cannot see it because they are inside, "unless they come out, then they will know that it is slanted."
"So right now, we need to do some work on the structure before it collapses on all of us, and it will be too late for anything else."