Desire to serve inspires Fata's foray into politics

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 26 October 2021, 10:22PM

They say God's timing is rarely our timing – just ask Fata Ryan Schuster, an aspiring politician for the electoral constituency of Sagaga No.2. 

The 46-year-old son of Afega and businessman first declared his candidacy last year, hoping to fulfil a "life long goal" by running in the General Election in a bid to represent his constituency in Parliament.

But his nomination to stand in the general election in April was rejected after Afega's village mayor at the time, Taliaoa Viliamu allegedly refused to sign the required proof that the candidate had provided monotaga (service rendered) but instead signed a letter along with the village saying they are against Fata's nomination.

This time around, Fata's desire to continue on his family's legacy of service to Samoa is the driving force behind his decision to contest in the constituency's by-election happening next month. 

He dedicates his candidacy to his late mother, whom he said raised him to be a servant for the people. 

For Fata, God's timing and opportunity is something one should not take for granted. 

"As you are aware, I put up my hand to contest in the general elections in April," Fata said in an exclusive interview with the Samoa Observer. 

"But I could not pursue that desire due to some issues in terms of eligibility. However, I believe this is an opportunity God has offered; a second chance for me to contest and to pursue my dream.

"Only God knows what the future is and what’s going to happen next. He has opened this door for me to contest again and I did not want to take the opportunity for granted.

"Our village and family gave me their blessings and support when I was preparing for the election in April, and with that, I am ready to pursue this again and contest in the upcoming by-election.

"You never know what’s going to happen in the next five years but I am a strong believer that God’s timing is always perfect."

While Fata had previously declared that he would run as an Independent candidate prior to the election in April, he has confirmed that he would be contesting under the banner of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) in the forthcoming by-elections. 

When asked to elaborate why he decided to join F.A.S.T, Fata simply replied: "It's because it is now the Government of the day.

"It will be much easier to present and accept the needs and wants of my constituency if you join the ruling party."

Nonetheless, the father-of-three did not hesitate to say that F.A.S.T.'s manifesto and policies have lured him in. 

"One of the main reasons why I decided to join F.A.S.T. is because I strongly feel the taxation laws for members of the clergy should be abolished. 

"When I presented my wish to my village last year that I wanted to contest in the election, they immediately asked which political party I was going to join. 

"But this was before the F.A.S.T. party was established, and I told them that I would run as an independent because I told them I did not want to join Tuilaepa's (Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi) party (the Human Rights Protection Party). 

"But we now have a new Government, so it's only right that I join the ruling party. The H.R.P.P. will not abolish the taxation laws because they were the ones who came up with the law and passed it in parliament. 

"For me, that is the main reason why I decided to join F.A.S.T., this is because we give our utmost respect to members of the clergies. You see when we have gatherings in Samoa. Even if we have paramount Chiefs at an event, we always address church ministers first and foremost. 

"We give them our highest respect because historically, there is the prophecy of Nafanua, which instructed Malietoa that a head of state for his government will be from heaven.  

"Shortly after the arrival of Christianity in Samoa at Malietoa’s village, which has been taken as the fulfillment of the war-goddess Nafanua’s prophecy. 

"Christianity was the start of peace among the warring factions of Samoan society and there was the eventual evolving of Samoa to what it is today with Christianity. 

"Christianity was accepted by Malietoa, the father of the constituency of Sagaga-le-usoga.

"The way I see it, there is no other way to solve the issue is for the new government to abolish the law that was passed by the former administration. I know they would not back down or many any changes to that law because they were the ones who brought it up and passed in parliament. 

"Nevertheless, my late mother once said to me before she passed away that the passage of the taxation laws in parliament by the H.R.P.P. was going to be there downfall. She believed that they should have never reached out and touch what belongs to the church and church ministers. 

"There are so many ways we can tap on to earn money for the country. But we all saw what happened; innocent church ministers were taken to court and stood before the court as if they had committed crimes."

When asked if he was confident in his preparations that he would win, Fata said :"I very am confident. 

"As I said before, I truly believe in God's timing and this time around, I feel like it is my time. God already knows what the results are. God chooses people not according to their age and wealth. 

"He chooses people based on what it is in their hearts and mind. Those with the will to serve not only the people but God. I honestly believe that age is not a factor, if you feel like it is your time, you should grab the opportunity."

Lastly, Fata Ryan hopes to continue the legacy of his great grandfather, Savea Leulua'iali'i Tuivaiese II, who was one of eleven members of the Fono ma Faipule which was the legislature in Western Samoa during the colonial era.

The former Samoa College student is no stranger to village affairs where he was involved as untitled man (taulealea) until he was bestowed the Fata title in 2014.

Fata is married to Leilani with three children, Tofaeafe, Leyan and Timoteo.

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Politics
Savaii
By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 26 October 2021, 10:22PM
Samoa Observer

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