“Well, I put it down to the CIP committee in Titikaveka,” said Matenga, who decided to run as an independent after the committee failed to acknowledge her successful election as the CIP candidate in Titikaveka. “Had they stayed with me, I think it would have been a landslide.”
Matenga pulled in 112 votes on election night, trailing winner Selina Napa of the Democratic Party by 86 votes and CIP second-place getter Moeroa Thomas-Tamangaro by 57.
“Had I been the only candidate for the CIP then it would have been much, much easier, and it would have been a definite CIP seat,” said Matenga, referring to the splitting of the vote caused by her rift with CIP.
“It was really disappointing. It saddens me. And I suppose CIP shot themselves in the foot by doing that.”
Despite her loss, Matenga says she will continue to be involved in politics, playing what she describes as a political “watchdog” role.
“I’ll stay involved. The best that I can do now is to just be a watchdog I suppose – you know, just to make sure that what these candidates have promised to do is carried out.
“There’s borderline poverty in the village, from what I’ve seen when I’ve gone through the homes – and it’s so sad, the conditions of the houses some people are living in, it’s not satisfactory at all.
“So I’d still like to follow up on these people – and I know a lot of them probably didn’t vote for me, but I’ll still follow up on these things, and I’ll be on their backs if these candidates don’t do what they’re supposed to deliver – what they’ve promised these people that they’ll do for the village.
While she says she’s glad the election is over and she can now “carry on with life”, Matenga describes herself as a “true CIP’ supporter and would like to return to the party fold if she can.
“If the CIPs want me back, I will go back. I am a true CIP. My dad was a former minister of the crown, and I’d like to get back. I don’t know how – I don’t know if I can face these people that sort of stabbed me in the back.
“We’ll see how we go. But I’d still like to be involved, and get a bit stronger.”