Strong words of encouragement were shared during the first formal Democrat party meeting held after the death of its leader, ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, and the Party’s loss of the premiership election last week.
The meeting of PTOA (Democrat) members at the Tonga National Centre in Tofoa this evening was an occasion of mixed emotions, with words from members showing a new era has begun for the party.
The Late ‘Akilisi’s eldest son Siaosi Pōhiva told the meeting they were not gathering because of ‘Akilisi but because of his vision for the nation.
Pīveni Piukala told the meeting the former Prime Minister had been betrayed, referring to those PTOA MPs and cabinet ministers who defected to the new People’s Party causing the PTOA to lose the premiership election.
However, he asked the PTOA to support the government. He said Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa was a PTOA member. He said the Niuas MP had become a cabinet minister for the first time in history and he was elected by the people as a PTOA MP.
Piukala summed up ‘Akilisi’s vision for a fully democratic reformed Tonga with his last words to Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika days before he died.
He said ‘Akilisi advised Sika to be honest and courageous, to take care of the people and look after his relationship with the king.
Piukala said ‘Akilisi did not want the Party members to be divided and live in disharmony with people who had different political views.
Piukala responded to claims by Prime Minister Tu’i’onoetoa that the PTOA was a political campaign device belonging to ‘Akilisi’s family, that it was not formally registered and that when he died the PTOA died also.
Piukala said there was no need for the PTOA to be registered and limit its membership. He said the party was a platform for those who wanted to follow and support ‘Akilisi’s visions. He reminded the meeting that political parties have yet to be legalized in Tonga.
Dr Tu’i Uata, the Cabinet Minister ‘Akilisi selected outside of parliament, was tearful when he spoke during the meeting.
He said ‘Akilisi was a humble man who set an example for the party to follow.
He said ‘Akilisi died but his visions live on.
Tonga’s by-election to elect an MP to replace ‘Akilisi will be held in November.
The PTOA has nominated his son Siaosi to run for the election and it has vowed it will do whatever it legally can to ensure he wins.
The main points
- Strong words of encouragement were shared during the first formal Democrat party meeting held after the death of its leader, ‘Akilisi Pohiva died, and the Party’s loss of the premiership election last week.
- Piveni Piukala told the meeting the former Prime Minister had been betrayed, referring to those PTOA MPs and cabinet ministers who defected to the new People’s Party causing the PTOA to lose the premiership election.
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