Aiono Afaese Toleafoa carries on father's legacy
The Human Rights Protection Party candidate Aiono Afaese Toleafoa secured the seat for A’ana Alofi No.2, the seat once held by his father the former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
This is according to preliminary results released by the Office of the Electoral Commission.
Aiono is the son of the former Speaker Leaupepe Fa’afisi Toleafoa who retired after serving nearly 30 years in Parliament.
Aiono contested from A’ana Alofi No.2, along with two other H.R.P.P. members and one Tautua Samoa candidate.
He took the lead with more than 500 votes, followed by the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi candidate, Lolomatauama Eseta Matatuli with 289 votes.
He took over from his father, Leaupepe, 73, who had served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in multiple terms.
Leaupepe was first appointed as the Deputy Speaker and became the Speaker for the first time in 1996, serving for two consecutive terms until 2006.
Leaupepe then served as Associate Minister before returning to the Speaker's chair in 2016.
Repeated efforts to get comments from Aiono were unsuccessful. He is the Managing Director for the Toleafoa Company which operates one of the largest chains of public transport, gas stations and supermarkets across the country.
In a previous interview with Leaupepe regarding his son following in his footsteps and making his debut in the political arena, the former Speaker said Aiono is ready.
Leaupepe said it was time for his son, Aiono, to enter the political arena.
“I am not saying that he will be appointed the next M.P. from our constituency, but Aiono is ready and eager to serve while I enjoy my retirement,” he said at the time.
“It is time for Aiono to serve the constituency and the Government by entering Parliament. We need the young minds in Parliament and now is the time for the young generation.”
Also during the interview, Leaupepe shared how his children managed to secure scholarships as mechanical engineers.
According to the Speaker, at one time their family transport business, Queen Poto, had 45 buses which were all of the Toyota make.
“The President of the Toyota Company came from Japan and reached out to my family as one of their loyal customers and asked me as to what the company can do for our family.
“The President assumed that I [would] ask [him] to reduce the price of the vehicles, but instead I asked him to fund scholarships for my sons so they can attend [mechanical] engineering school so they can fix our [vehicles] when they break down, the request was granted.
“To date, my sons are the best mechanics we have on this island and they cater to our business. Of my decisions, I am proud of this because I know our family will benefit in the long run.
“Again if you can manage your family affairs, you can do anything,” Leaupepe said at the time.