By ARMSTRONG SAIYAMA
Divine Word University Journalism Student
LONE female candidate Loujaya Toni is the new member elect for the Lae Open seat.
Toni has polled 7,364 votes ahead of the businessman Fred Wak with 5,842 votes and sitting MP Bart Philemon trailing third with 4,680 votes.
Toni has won over the 50 +1 majority of 6,004 votes in this male-dominated race.
Former journalist, teacher, poet cum gospel singer Loujaya Toni is running under the ticket of Indigenous People’s Party.
The Masters Degree in Communication Development Studies graduate from the PNG University of Technology said she could use her knowledge and experiences to bring holistic development in her Lae electorate.
Toni told The National in an exclusive interview earlier in this year with her at her residence at the Busurum Compound.
“I understand human beings and basics of not only to look after people within Lae electorate, I also understand how we can develop together our human resources and how to communicate development,” she said.
“I’m confident with the level of qualifications that I have and that confidence that I am delivering to the voters.
“I’m pressing people to take ownership of my policies and seeing them as theirs."
Toni has challenged 30 male candidates including the veteran Minister of Public Service Bart Philemon.
The Butibam villager said she has ousted her grandfather Philemon to show a new type of leadership in the Lae Open seat.
“I am working with all the candidates in the Lae Open seat, I see all of them as my brothers and except Bart Philemon who is my grandfather,” Toni said.
“I’m banking on the fact that I see all candidates as brothers and Philemon as grandfather, I’m very confident that I’m in every body’s three leaf combination."
Her winning is the manifestation of her creative drive to tap into second and third choices of this male dominated race.
Toni has been running under the banner of “Make a difference: Vote for a woman".
“I never support the reserve seats and I’m excited in the prospects of running this election," she said.
“Male candidates can’t handle women’s issues, men deal with big issues and women’s issues are not on men’s agenda.
“A woman is qualified in home economics and in human resource development.
“Naturally, women are interested in talking of human resource development and want our children to have good education, good health and good life.
“We, the women are practicing real home economics and human resource development in the home governments, and we women are expanding our areas of governance into the next level,” she said.
Toni says that her policies are to touch the people and changed the people’s lives.
“I would empower and up skill the customary Ahi land owners, squatter settlers, women, old people, orphans, youth, people living with HIV/AIDS and people living with disability,” she said.
“ I have plans to organise pensions for old people, create sheltered workShops for people living with disability, Improve alternative healthcare and homecare for people living with HIV/AIDS, employment and training programmes for youth, programmes for orphans, develop cottage industry for women, downstream processing of local products and establish a council of chiefs for the Ahi people,” Toni said.
She said her push is for PNG to meet the 2015 United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.
“I will provide a report card of my electorate to the United Nations in 2015," Toni said,
“That involves providing a report card to make myself accountable to the Lae voters and transparent to the international community.
“I have 100 days in office plan and a five-year development plan for Lae Open electorate."
This is her second time to contest the Lae Open seat to win this seat.
Toni came fifth out of the 25 candidates in the 2007 national election and she came third in the 2008 Ahi local level government presidential race.