The farmer taking on the Deputy Speaker

A farmer and lay preacher from the village of Fagamalo, Seuamuli Fasi Toma, is hoping to represent Gagaemauga No. 2 in the next Parliamentary sitting. 

The seat is currently occupied by a first term Parliamentarian and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nafo'itoa Talaimanu Keti.  Seuamuli is the only challenger and he is a first time candidate.

The 56-year-old Deacon Elder of the Itu o Tane District is flagging the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) banner. 

"Preparations are going really well so far," Seuamuli told the Samoa Observer. 

"As you know, people tend to go for those with wealth and money. I'm not someone who has a lot of money, but the main drive behind my aspiration to run in the upcoming election is to continue my service for my village, constituency, and our country. 

"I was born and raised here in Savai'i, and have lived here all my life. I don't have a land or house in Upolu so I stay here with my family and I look after my family and also our village. 

"For someone who stays here in the village and the constituency, I know exactly what the people need the most."

Seuamuli, who is a farmer, is a strong believer that agriculture is the "heart of developments" in Samoa. 

"That is the truth, and we need to commit all efforts in making sure that our people are provided with the right equipment and services so they can continue to work the land.

"And if we want to encourage and push our people to work the land, we need good quality roads that people can use to get to their plantations. 

"For the village of Fagamalo, we mow the lawn on the side of the access road (auala galue) every month. That is our contribution to the development of agriculture. It really helps our people to get to their plantations. Our access road goes all the way to the mountains."

Nevertheless, as a family man and chief, Seuamuli believes that in order to fully develop our country, we need to start from the grassroots level. 

"It's take collective efforts and responsibilities to achieve that. 

"As someone who is looking after the village, I strongly believe that the development of a country starts from the grassroots level. "Everything begins with our families. If we, the leaders of our families develop an environment where people work together and help one another, we will not have to worry about their involvement in other social institutions like schools, villages, churches, and the government. 

"We can achieve anything by working together. Samoa is a country with a strong culture and fa'amatai system. Most of the time we wait for help from the government and question the work of the government and what they do to further develop our country, but we should also stop and ask ourselves if we are doing anything to help with the development of the country. 

"That is the mentality we want to send out to our people. Help yourself first and foremost by working and contributing so we don't get disappointed when the government doesn't do anything. We need to be able to work and become self-sufficient and be independent instead on relying on the government for everything."

Securing well-built seawalls within the constituency is another area Seuamuli will look at, should the constituents vote for him. 

Healthcare is another area that needs development, according to Seuamuli. 

"There was a district hospital at Fagamalo, but it was shut down and now we use the medical center at Vaipouli. The problem is the doctor visits the Vaipouli health center once a week. So throughout the week, our people travel to Safotu for medical check-ups or for emergencies. 

"But the truth is, there aren't enough resources and tools available at these centers to cater for our sick people. There are not enough rooms, and other equipment."

When asked if he is confident that he will be the next representative for his constituency, he replied saying: "We always hear people saying that action speaks louder than words. 

"All I can say is that I have ben serving my family, church, village and constituency from a very young age. 

"I was only 16, was when I started my service to my family and village. 

"My family then bestowed me a matai title and now I am looking after our family and village. I have also served the church and now I am a laid preacher for our congregation. He is also the Elderly Decon (Ti'akono Toeaina) for the Itu-o-Tane District (Matagaluega). 

"I have also held various positions with the government. 

I have been asked so many times by the people of the constituency to run for the election. 

"But I refused because I felt like I was not ready. The spirit of the Lord told me that it was not my time. This time around, I feel that the Lord is telling me to go. 

"Nothing in this life comes easily and running for the election isn't something easy. It takes a lot of courage to take up the challenge. 

"But as a Christian, I strongly believe that nothing is impossible if we trust the Lord. I am confident because of the work and service that I have done and I believe that it is my time. 

"I spend my time with the people of the constituency everyday and a lot of them have given their support. It is not something that I am proud of, but I humble myself and prepare for the election. I will let the people decide." 

The recent political developments that saw three M.P.s who were members for the ruling Human Rights Protection Party walking away H.R.P.P, was one of the reasons why Seuamuli decided to join F.A.S.T.

"Not one but three Member of Parliaments walked away from the ruling H.R.P.P. 

"Two of these members aren't new to Samoa's political circle. So to see them leave the party sends out a big message that there is something fishy going on behind those doors. Something the people are not aware of. The truth is, they've been at the helm for far too long. 

"As you know in this life, when an event goes on for more than an hour, we become uninterested. 

"If the pastor also deliver a sermon for more than an hour, people tend to lose their interest and concentration. It's the same with politics. There are other eligible and knowledgable people suited for the role of running our country. We need new and fresh ideas on how to drive our vehicle forward. 

"The other main reason is, I am strongly against the three bills that proposes monumental changes to the judiciary of Samoa. I keep wondering what will happen to our children in the future if these bills are passed in Parliament. We will get the blame because it happened during our time."

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