NEWLY-ELECTED Member of Parliament for East Makira Constituency Lily Mafane Maefai will take her oath of office in parliament this morning.
Maefai, who arrived back in Honiara yesterday, scored a landslide in the December 11 by-election against her eight rivals.
Speaking to the Solomon Star, Maefai, 44, credited her overwhelming victory to the supporters of her late husband Charles Maefai, who died in July this year just three months after he won the April 3 polls.
“Supporters of my late husband just wanted the development plans he has for East Makira to be pursued and implemented,” Maefai said.
“So on the day we buried my husband, they requested that I must prepare to contest on their behalf in the by-election,” she added.
“At first I was a bit hesitant because I am a woman from Malaita.
“But when they kept coming to me and asking that I contest in the by-election, I decided to say yes to their request.”
Maefai was up against some well-recognised leaders of East Makira in the by-election, including a former MP Alfred Ghiro, a former Makira-Ulawa premier Stephenson Piringisau and a former provincial member Martin Karani.
But she said it was her simplicity, kindness and love for her late husband’s people that won her the East Makira seat.
“The people of East Makira just approach me and say they don’t need people with higher educational qualifications to represent them in parliament.
“They just wanted someone they can approach, sit down with and share their problems.
“They saw those attributes in me and wanted me to be their new representative in parliament,” Maefai said.
But she said her rivals have not given her an easy time during the campaign.
“They kept telling the people that I am from Malaita and if I win the election, I’ll just forget about East Makira constituents.
“Little did my rivals realised that I’ve already won the hearts and minds of the voters with my generiousity during the short time my husband was their MP.
“In fact before I started my campaign, I already knew that I am going to win because of the overwhelming support I got from the voters.”
Maefai thanked the voters of East Makira and assured them she’ll work with the committees her late husband had set up to implement the development plans for the constituency.
She confirmed she is a member of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s Our Party.
A Secretarial graduate of the then Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, Maefai and her late husband have both worked for the Solomon Star for more than 10 years before they left to start off their small printing company.
– Lilly Mafane Maefai: 3,371
– Alfred Ghiro:1,196
– Rose Murray: 644
– Tiks Tauni:
– Martin Karani: 466
– Thomas Bea: 309
– Casper Tai: 269
– Steven Piringisau: 227
– Henry Quasiki: 181.
By IAN M. KAUKUI