OPINION: A question of democratic reform

'Oku 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

Kaniva opinion

Does Clive Edwards want change in Tonga or not?

In 2014 he told Matangi Tonga the government had introduced reforms to make the kingdom’s judicial system more democratic and in line with the Constitution.

The reforms which were passed by Parliament in August that year abolished the Lord Chancellor, and replaced the Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel with a Judicial Services Commission.

When Parliament closed on 11 September, 2014, a total of 23 Bills, including those for the reforming of Tonga’s judicial system, and for the appointment of an Anti-corruption Commissioner that were passed by Parliament, were still awaiting the Royal consent.

You can read the Matangi Tonga report here: Judicial Reform In Tonga Awaits King’s Consent

Edwards’ statements in that article appear to show that he and the former Lord Tu’ivakano’s  government believed there had to be changes to Tonga’s democratic system and its constitution after the reforms of 2010.

He said the Justice Ministry brought in constitutional expert, Peter Pursglove to review the constitutional provisions relating to the judicial structure of Tonga. The Ministry arranged to meet with the Law Lords, but they did not turn up and had since tried to block the reform.

However, this is the same Clive Edwards,  who has been a fierce political rival of Hon. Pōhiva for years, who told the people two weeks ago  that the Pōhiva government was trying to remove the king’s powers.

He was referring to the six new Bills the government is trying to move through Parliament. However, Hon. Pōhiva says  the six Bills stem from the initiatives of the Tu’ivakanō government when Edwards was the Justice Minister.

Hon. Pōhiva believes there is nothing sinister about the Bills, but his opponents still hold a grudge against him and regard the page of the new Bills as an opportunity to campaign against his government.

Traditionally it has been taboo in Tonga, for somebody like Hon. Pōhiva to call for changes that might challenge the traditional power of the king , the nobles and the system that supports them.

In 2014, Edward criticised the Law Lords, for standing in the way of reform.

Yet just last year Edwards called for the king to dissolve Parliament and set up an interim government.

Does the veteran politician still want reform and for Tonga to progress as a democratic nation?

Can he put aside whatever personal animosity he has for Hon. Pohiva and work with him for the good of the country?

There are questions we can ask, but only Edwards can answer.

The main points

  • Does Clive Edwards want change in Tonga or not?
  • In 2014 he told Matangi Tonga the government had introduced reforms to make the kingdom’ judicial system system more democratic and in line with the Constitution.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Na’e fakahā ‘e Clive Edwards ‘i ‘Okatopa 2014 ‘oku feinga e pule’anga nōpele he ‘aho ko ia’ kef ai ‘a e liliu ki he ngaahi lao mo e konisitutone ‘a Tonga ke fakalelei’i ‘a e fa’unga ‘o e fakamaau’anga. Na’e mahino ‘i he’ene lau ko ‘eni ki he Matangi Tonga’ ne ‘osi tali ia ‘o paasi mei he Fale Alea pea kei fakatatali ‘a e ngaahi liliu ko ia’ ki he’ene ‘afio. Ko e liliu ko ‘eni ki he fakamaau’anga’ ko hono to’o ‘o e ngaahi mafai fili ‘o e kau fakamāu’ ‘oku ‘oange ‘e he konisitūtone’ ki he Penolo ‘a e Fakataha Tokoni mo e Tu’i’ ke ‘ave ia ki he Komisoni Lao’, fo’i liliu natula tatau tofu pe ia kuo fai ‘e he pule’anga ko ‘eni ‘o ‘Akilisi Pohiva, ‘oku fa’o ‘i he taha e ngaahi lao ‘e ono ko ‘eni kuo felauaki ai ‘a e fonua tu’unga ‘i ha ngaahi taki hala fakapolitikale ‘a ha ni’ihi ‘oku ‘ikai ke nau loto lelei ki he pule’anga’. Ko e me’a ne fakahā ‘e Edwards he ‘aho ko ia ko e ngaahi liiu ko ‘eni ki he fakamaau’anga’ ko e taumu’a ke fakatemokalati ange. Na’e toe ‘i ai ‘a e hoha’a ‘a Clive ki he tu’unga ‘o e kau Law Lords mo ne pehē ‘oku nau feinga ke nau poloka’i ‘a e fakalelei ko ‘eni’. Ka ko e me’a ne mahino he lau ‘a Clive ko ‘eni ko ‘ene pehē ne finangalo ‘a e tu’i ke toloi ‘a e liliu ko ‘eni ki he 2015. ‘Oku ‘i ai e tui nae tupu ‘eni mei he vave ‘a e Fili Fale Alea’ pea ne ku foki ‘o hopo hake ‘a e pule’anga ko ‘eni ‘o Pohiva ‘i he ta’u tatau. Na’e ‘osi fakahā ‘e Pohiva ko e ngaahi liliu ko ‘eni ‘oku nau fai ko e fekau ia ko ‘eni ne finangalo ki ai ‘a e Tu’i ke tuku toloi mai mei he 2014. Na’e toe pehe ‘e Clive ko e feinga ‘a e kau ‘Eiki Lao ke fakafaingata’a’ia’i ‘a e liliu ‘e iku hoko ai ha vātamaki. Na’e fakamahino heni ‘e Clive ‘enau ‘omai ‘a e mataotao ko ia ko Peter Pursglove ke ne toe vakai’i e konistutone 2010 ‘a Tonga’ ‘o fakamahino ai ‘e Pursglove ko e konisitutone ma’olalo taha ia ‘i he ngaahi fonua kominiueli’. Na’e toe fakamahino heni ‘e Clive ‘a e fiema’u ke fai ‘a e liliu ko eni ki he fakamaau’anga koeuhi ka e lava ke tali ‘e Nu’u Sila mo ‘Aositelelia ken a hoko atu hono fakapa’anga ‘o e kau fakamaau lahi he ‘oku ‘ikai lava ‘e Tonga ia ‘o fakapa’anga. Ne pehe ‘e Clive taimi ne hu atu ai ia ki he Potungaue Lao ne ne fakatokanga’i ko ha potungaue ia ‘oku konga ua. ‘O pule’i ‘e he potungaue ‘a e ngaahi me’a faka’ofisi mo fakangaue kae pule’i mai ‘e he Penolo ia ‘a e Tu’i ‘a e kau fakamaau mo hono fakanofo kinautolu kau ai mo hono fokotu’u honau vahenga. Ka ko e palopalema ai he ko e taimi ‘oku kole atu ai mei he penolo ki Nu’u Sila ke tokoni mai he vahenga ‘o e kau fakamaau tala mai ‘e Nu’u Sila ia ‘ikai ko e pule’anga pe ne fili ‘e he kakai’ ‘e lava ke nau alea ki he ngaahi vahenga ‘o e kau fakamaau’. Ko e uhinga tatau pe ‘eni na’e pehe ai ‘e he pule’anga ‘o Pohiva na’e fiema’u ‘a e ngaah lao fakaangaanga ‘e ono ko eni’ ke fakavavevave’ koeuhi he ‘oku vave hono alea’i ‘o e patiseti ‘o e ta’u ‘a ia he ava pe ko eni ‘a e Fale’ pea ‘oku fiema’u ia ai ke tali ‘a e ngaahi lao’ koeuhi ko e fiema’u ke faingamalie ‘a e fiema’u ki he vahenga ‘o e kau fakamaau he kuo pau ke ‘asi ia ‘i he patiseti. Ka ‘e tu’unga ‘eni hano liliu ‘o e lao ke ‘omi e mafai ki hono fili kinautolu ki he kapineti’.

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