OPINION: King must be partner in democratic reforms to honour his late brother’s plans and reflect the wishes of the people

FAKATOKANGA'I ANGE: Ko e to'oto'o konga lalahi pe 'a e fakamatala faka-Tonga ko 'eni' pea 'i ai 'ene ki'i kehe si'i mei he veesi 'o e ongoongo fakapālangi 'i lalo' ka 'oku ma'u pe 'a e fakakaukau tatau: ‘Oku mahino mei he fakatotolo fakaako ‘a e Haikomisiona ‘a Tonga ki mu’a’ ne toki tuku atu ai ‘e he Kaniva’ ha ongo fakamatala ongoongo, ‘oku ‘i ai e fatongia ‘o e tama tu’i lolotonga’ ke ne hoko atu ha fakalelei ki he liliu fakatemokālati na’e teke ‘e he kakai’ pea mokoi ki ai ‘a hono ta’okete ka ko e tama tu’i kuo ungafonua ko Siaosi Tupou V. Kuo mahino ‘i he fakatotolo fakaako ‘a Christine Bogle ‘a e laumālie mo’oni ne ma’u ‘e Siaosi V ke tuku ange kakato ki he kakai’ ‘a e ngaahi mafai ke nau fakalele ‘a e pule’anga’. Neongo ne tō e fakamamafa ’a Bogle ‘i he ha’a tu’i mo ‘enau kaunga ki hono fakaa’u ‘a e liliu 2010, ‘oku ikai puli ko e liliu fakatemokalati ‘a Tonga’ na’e kaunga lahi ki ai ‘a e teke mei tu’a ‘a e kakai’ mo e kau poupou temokalati ‘o taki mai ai ‘a e palēmia lolotonga’, ‘Akilisi Pōhiva. ‘Oku ‘ikai puli na’e lava ‘a e liliu 2010 ’ pea fiefia ai ‘a e kakai tui temokalati kae ‘i he taimi tatau na’e ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi tō nounou he liliu ni. Kuo ‘osi fa’a lave ‘a e Kaniva’ ‘i ha’ane ngaahi ‘ātikolo lahi ki he ngaahi tōnounou ko ‘eni’. Kuo ‘osi lave ha kau mataotao lalahi he mala’e ‘o e lao’ ki he tōnounou ko ‘eni’ kau ai ‘a e taukei lao ko Peter Pursglove mei he Kominiueli pea mo loea Dr Rodney Harrison mei Nu’u Sila. ‘Oku na fale’i mai ‘oku fakatu’utāmaki e ta’efakafemokalati ‘a e Kosilio Fakataha Tokoni a e Tu’i’ mo ‘enau fale’i ia pehē ki he’enau fili ‘a e kau fakamāu ki he fakamaau’anga’. Kuo fale’i mai ‘e Dr Harrison ‘oku ta’efakakonisitūtone ke toe hanga ‘e he tu’i’ ‘o ta’etali ha lao kuo paasi ‘e Fale Alea. Na’e pehē ‘e Pursglove ko e konisitūtone ‘a Tonga’ ‘a e ma’olalo taha ‘i he ngaahi fonua Kominiueli’. Oku taku ko e konisitūtone ia ne fa’u ‘e he pule’anga ‘o Looti Sevele’ mo Looti Dalgety kae tuku e konisitūtone ia ne fa’u atu mei he Komisoni Fili ne fokotu’u ke nau fa’u ‘a e konisitūtone ke fakahoko’aki ‘a e liliu 2010. Kātoa ‘eni kuo taimi ki he tu’i’ ke fai ha’ane tōfolofola ki he lau ‘a e ongo mataotao ko ‘eni’ mo e ngaahi ‘isiu fakalao kuo ‘o hake kau ki hono mafai’ mo e konisitūtone ‘a e fonua’. Kuo ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi kaveinga ia fakafonua kuo fa’a tō folofola ki ai ‘a e tu’i’ hangē ko ‘ene na’ina’i ki he ako’, mo’ui lelei mo e ‘ekonōmika’. Fakafeta'i! Ka ko hono mo’oni ko e ngaahi palopalema kotoa ‘i he feinga ke fakakakato ki he ako’ , mo’ui mo e ‘ekonōmika ‘oku ala lava ke tafe kotoa ia mei he palopalema ko ‘eni ‘o e konisitūtone’ mo e ngaahi ‘isiu fekau’aki mo e mafai ‘o e tu’i’. ‘Oku hā mahino ‘a e hangē ‘oku ‘ikai poupou’i ‘e he tu’i ‘a e founga pule fakatemokalat. Kau heni ‘ene veteki ‘a e Fale Alea pea hili hono toe fili atu ‘o e pule’anga ‘o Pōhiva’ kuo ‘ikai toe mokoi ia ke fakataha mo e ‘Eiki Palēmia’ neongo hono tu’utu’uni ‘e he konisitūtone’ ke na toutou fakataha ki he ngaahi ngāue ‘a e pule’anga’. Kau foki ki heni mo e hā mai ‘oku ‘ikai ha’ane fie poupou ki he ngaahi lao fakaangaanga ‘e ono ne kamata’i ‘e he pule’anga ‘o Tu’ivakanoo’ 2014 pea hoko atu ‘e he pule’anga ‘o Pōhiva’ ‘a ia ‘oku fiema’u ki he ngāue lelei ange ‘a hono fakalele ‘o e pule’anga fakatemokālati’. Na’e mahino pe ko e liliu ne fakamafai’i ‘e Siaosi V he 2010 ko ha kamata’anga pea na’e pau ke fai ‘a e ‘amanaki ki ha toe ngaahi fakalelei ‘amui ange ai. Ka kuo hala foki ‘a Siaosi V pea mahino mei he fakatotolo ‘a Bogle ‘a e ngaahi misi ‘a e tu’i’ ni na’e tu’u ke fakakakato hangē ko e pehē na’a’ ne ‘amanaki ko e ‘uluaki palēmia he pule’anga fili ‘o e 2010 ke fili mei he kakai’. Ka ne fili foki ‘a e nōpele ia ‘a ia ko Looti Tu’ivakanō. Na'e toe lave 'a Bogle 'i he fakatotolo 'o fakamahino ko hono veteki 'e he tu'i' e Fale Alea' he 2017 na'e fakakonisitūtone ka na'e 'ikai fakatemokālati. Na’e ‘i ai e sio ‘a e kakai kia Siaosi V ke hokohoko atu ‘a e ngaahi fakalelei fakapolitikale fakatemokalati’ ka kuo ne ungafonua foki ia. Ko e sio leva ‘eni kuo fai ki he tama tu’i ko ‘eni kae pango’ ko e ngaahi me’a kuo hā mai he anga ‘ene tataki ‘a e fonua’ ‘oku ‘ikai ai ha tui te ne toe poupou’i ha toe fakalelei fakatemokalati. Kuopau ke hoko atu ‘e he tu’i ha ngaahi fakalelei fakapolotikale fakatemokalati’ ‘o hangē ko ia ne mokoi ki ai hono ta'okete’ ko ha’ane fakalālangi’i ia e mokoi 'o Siaosi V pea ko ha halafononga lelei ia ki ha malu ‘e tolonga fakapolitikale ai 'a Tonga.

Recent stories in Kaniva News on the role of the Tongan monarchy in the democratic reforms have underlined just how far – and just how little – the kingdom has come.

The stories have been based on research by former New Zealand High Commissioner to New Zealand Christine Bogle whose work examined the function of monarchies in Tonga, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand.

While her academic focus has been on the royals, there can be no denying the changes were also the work of commoners, politicians and the media working in an unspoken partnership.

Unfortunately, that partnership has faltered.

If democracy is to prosper and progress in Tonga that partnership must be reignited and the onus for doing that lies with the monarchy.

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King George V’s support for the 2010 political reforms reflected a forward looking vision that showed a sincere and genuine desire for the government to be led by the people

Unfortunately, the present monarch does not seem to have the same commitment.

The late King George V’s political reforms were transitional, meaning more reforms and improvements were expected later.

Those reforms can only come with the support of King Tupou VI, who still holds  most of the political powers in Tonga.

However, Tupou VI’s actions have not encouraged the belief that he favours democracy.

He has shown no great love for the democratic governments of ‘Akilisi Pohiva and his political stance. Pōhiva was a fierce political rival of his father, the late King Tupou IV.

King Tupou VI’s dissolution of Parliament in 2017 at the behest of Lord Tu’ivakanō, underlined his apparent dislike of democracy.

After the dissolution and the democrats’ subsequent re-election, the king refused to meet with the PM, despite the fact that the constitution stipulates that he and the Prime Minister must meet on regular basis to discuss government matters.

His reluctance to support the six new bills submitted by the government, which would bring more necessary democratic power to the executive, appears to have been influenced by the only people he meets regularly, the nobles and the law lords.

There are still more reforms to be made and still more work to be done on the constitution.

The Pursglove report and comments by Dr Rodney Harrison about the constitution and some illegalities regarding the king’s and his council’s powers are crystal clear.

King Tupou VI, who ordered the Ombudsman and the Attorney General to investigate the Pōhiva government after receiving a series of petitions, should come forward and say something about these important issues.

It is time for the king to work with the government as a partner in the continuing process of democratic reforms.

That way he would honour his late brother’s plans and reflect the wishes of his people.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ko e fekumi ki ha pule’anga ‘oku makatu’unga hono fa’unga ‘i he totonu, kuo pau ke fufulu fk’aufuli e taufehi’a tu’unga’a kotoa pē pea fkma’a mo e loto ke ‘oua na’a toe ai ha ‘ofa pe fehi’a kae lava ke haohaoa e fkmaautotonu.

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