Bus driver claims seat in Parliament
Businessman and bus driver, Masinalupe Makesi Masinalupe is amongst the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party’s winning candidates following last week's election.
The 59-year-old was making his debut as a budding politician, taking a massive lead ahead of four Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) candidates who were also vying for the top spot.
Masinalupe amassed 884 votes; former Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Lemalu Enokati Posala collected 377; former Vice Chancellor, Fui Asofou Soo garnered 435 votes; pharmacist, Lemalu Mathew Mualia claimed 97 ticks; and Sua Tanielu Sua secured 691 votes.
The Safa'ato'a Congregational Christian Church of Samoa [C.C.C.S.] lay preacher's decision to contest came only after his older sister, Lemalu Kuinimeri Tamati, was unable to contest the poll.
Masinalupe, who was born and raised and is living in Lefaga, believes that he has more to offer than his competitors, after being involved in various aspects of the community from the education sector to sports and agriculture.
A hospital for the district of Lefaga has been listed as a priority in his campaign platform.
"A hospital at Lefaga is what I will be [pushing] for. It's been 40 years since we have been requesting this. There is still nothing and yet it should be the first priority of any leader that is elected into the seat.
"For the safety of our district and neighbouring villages, we want a hospital at Lefaga. We are far from Leulumoega and the hospital at Safata."
Other developments Masinalupe feels strongly about include street lights and plantation roads.
Masinalupe says that, for years, Lefaga has requested better roads to make it easy for villagers to access their plantations but "nothing has been done".
"And the streetlights for Lefaga, it's mostly dark out there at night but you need to think of the safety of pedestrians,” he said.
Masinalupe said he chose to run under the flag of F.A.S.T., led by former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, because "it's time for a new tune."
"I'm a man who loves music. And like many of us, when you hear something too many times, you start to get tired of it," he said.
"There is hope that we need a new song, a new singer, a new tune; a change in Government to continue the good works in Samoa."
Masinalupe was educated at the Safa'ato'a Primary School before moving onto Lefaga Junior High School and Leulumoega College. He proceeded to Technical College, where he studied fitting and machinery.
Masinalupe is married to Fanuasa Leleimalefaga Tusani Masinalupe. They have five children.