Female candidate eyes Gagaemauga No.1. seat

A female candidate from Samalaeulu in Savai'i has put her hands up to run for the Gagaemauga No.1. seat in next April’s general election.

Businesswoman and 71-year-old mother of three, Tevaga Tupuivao Mapusaga, will run under the banner of the Human Rights Protection Party [HRPP] and is confident of her chances at the polls next year.

She said her conviction to serve the people was the motivating factor behind her decision to run for politics.

"The reason why I am running is I want to continue serving my constituency, there is a lot of work that needs to be improved within the constituency, so I thought I would offer my service while I still have the strength," she said in an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

Tevaga was among candidates from the H.R.P.P. who were nominated in Savai'i earlier this week and this will mark her first foray into running for public office.

"I am confident because I have the support of my family and village. And with God at the forefront, I will not be bothered by anything or anyone.

"The village has also given me their support and I am grateful to them for their ongoing support and a strong push for me to contest."

Asked why she joined the ruling party, she said: "The main reason is that I've always been supportive of all the great work and developments that are done by the current Government, and I want to continue on the great work they've done."

Gagaemauga No.1. consists of the villages of Samalaeulu, Patamea, Mauga, and Saleaula. 

The seat is currently occupied by the Minister of Tourism, Sala Fata Pinati but as a result of changes to the electoral boundaries, Tevaga and other candidates will not run against Sala. 

The businesswoman said she will focus on education and agriculture should the constituents vote for her next year. 

"The two areas I will be focusing on if I win will be education and agriculture. Education is the key to anything in this life and agriculture is the backbone of any country's development. Therefore, I want to develop and focus on those two areas."

Tevaga will be up against a Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi [F.A.S.T.] candidate from Saleaula, Va'aaoao Salu Alofipo, another H.R.P.P. candidate [from Saleaula], Laufou Alofipo Fa'amanu Manase, and lawyer Tuala Joe Ponifasio from Samalaeulu who is an Independent candidate. 

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