Sapapali'i Chief eyes Fa'asaleleaga No.3 seat
A 66-year-old chief of Sapapali'i Savai'i is putting his hands up to contest the Fa'asaleleaga No.3. seat in the next parliamentary term.
Li'omatua Siaosi Sala'a said he is following his heart and the desire of his relatives, children and the village to contest the 2021 General Election and will take on incumbent M.P. Namulau'ulu Sami Leota.
He will also run against Papali'i Li'o Ta'eu-Masipa'u, who is contesting under the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) banner.
When asked what motivated him to run, he said as a family man and matai he wanted to be of service to the constituency.
"I am a family man and a matai who is looking after the village and family," Li'omatua told the Samoa Observer. "I want to offer my service and use my strength to serve our constituency and Samoa as well.
"I want to contribute and help our people. We also want to make a difference in the lives of those vulnerable people not only in the village but also in Samoa as a whole."
Li'omatua says there is not much that needs to be done in terms of development in the constituency, thanks to the work of the current M.P. and those who served the constituency before.
"I take my hat off to those who have represented our constituency in the previous parliamentary terms and our current M.P.
"They've done a tremendous job in serving and representing our constituency.
"My decision to run was not an easy decision to make. My children, relatives and some of the matai from the village have asked me to run and I felt that this is my time to run.
“Win or lose, at least I am following my heart.”
Asked to name some of the developments he is looking at, should he succeed in the upcoming election, Li'omatua said: "For our constituency, there is not much that is needed to be done. In terms of education, we have nice and good school facilities. We just need to upgrade learning materials and facilities for the improvement of students' learning."
Talking about healthcare, Li'omatua commended the efforts of the Government in upgrading the main hospital in Savai'i at Tuasivi which is used by the people of his constituency.
But he said there is a need to upgrade some of the infrastructural works in their constituency.
"I am sure you are aware that the ford at Sapapali'i is one of the dangerous roads to cross during bad weather conditions.
“For our village, there are a few streams located further inland of the village back where our plantations are and where most of the villages are now residing.
"So if those streams burst, it is a threat to the lives of our people and also the people of Tapu'ele'ele.
"Most families from our village have moved further inland and settled there. But that is a major concern. We need to push for that, to build a strong and secure wall or bridge."
Initially, Li'omatua decided to run under the banner of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) but is now contesting as an Independent candidate.
He will await the outcome of next year's general election and could join F.A.S.T. if he is successful.
"The reason why I decided to join F.A.S.T. in the first place was because I don't support the three L.T.C. bills (now acts).
“Our village was one of the first few villages to meet with the Special Parliamentary Committee during consultations.
"And when we made our submission, we didn't really understand what the changes are and the motives behind the changes. However, we got to understand later on and I don't support some parts of the changes proposed."
He also clarified that his connection to F.A.S.T. was through the Samoa National Democratic Party.
For someone who is looking after the village and is present in the village every day, Li'omatua believes his chances of winning are high and is not nervous, despite being a novice in the political arena.
And he added that he has the utmost respect for the incumbent M.P. and his fellow election opponents.