Don’t resist the government and churches warns PM as critics say fasting and prayer tours are just an excuse to collect free gifts

    Pehē 'e he PM 'oku kei hao 'a Tonga he Koviti-19 tu'unga he'ene polokalama lotu 'aukai' 'a ia 'e totongi 'e he kau lī tukuhau e fakamole ki he lotu' ni ofi 'i he miliona. Na'a ne fakahā ki he fonua ke 'oua 'e fakafepaki'i e pule'anga' mo e lotu' he polokalama ko 'eni'. Ka kuo pehē 'e he kakai' ko e sīpinga 'eni 'o e lotu loi, kemipeini ki he fili Fale Alea', fokotu'u pe ha me'a ke nau vahe ai mei he pa'anga folau 'a e pule'anga', tānaki koloa, me'atahi, mo e tokonaki me'akai mei he kakai masiva 'o e 'otu motu'

    Tongan Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa has warned critics of his government’s prayer and fasting tours not to resist “religion and the government.”

    PM Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa. Photo/Kalino Lātū

    The Prime Minister and Cabinet have travelled around the kingdom promoting fasting , but opponents of the government say the real purpose of this initiative is to allow the Cabinet and government staff to receive travelling allowances and collect gifts such as yams, fish and valuable Tongan handicrafts such as fine mats and ngatu from the people in the outer islands.

    This is normal practice in welcoming ceremonies of any tour by the government from main island Tongatapu.

    The government has been attacked online, with many deeming it hypocritical and pharisaical and claiming the tours were a cover for other activity. The tours have also been criticised as really being a political campaign by the government’s People’s Party because of next year’s general election.

    “This government is lucky they collected money and handicrafts,” one critic said.

    Another said this was the only Tongan government to have amassed such a large collection of cultural items.

    Hon. Tu’i’onetoa believes Tonga has no cases of Covid-19 because of the fasting.

    The Government’s fasting and prayer tours have not come without a price.

    The visit to ‘Eua, which ran from October 10 -11 is estimated to have cost TP$100,000. Tongatapu no. 1 MP Siaosi Pohiva said the visit to ‘Eua was a “waste of money”.

    It is understood that about TP$100,000 was also spent on a tour to Ha’apai on November 14-15.

    Parliament had to close while Cabinet toured the outer islands.

    Other tours are scheduled for Vava’u, Tongatapu and the Niuas over the next three months. Cabinet will be in Vava‘u for fasting and praying on December 5-6.

    In the New Year there will be fasting and praying in Tongatapu from January 18-19 and in the Niuas from February 8-9.

    The Prime Minister justified his fasting policy in Parliament. Speaking in Tongan he said:

    “There are many people on Facebook who have made fun of the government’s national fasting and prayer initiative. One of the things the government used to protect us from Covid-19, was to pray and fast every month.

    “Some people took it lightly and some regarded it as fake prayer. Some people of the nation said it was mischievous and made comments which were discouraging and bad.

    “These will cause people to be more disobedient against government’s decisions and I am asking you please do not do that as it did not contribute any good to our preparedness to fight against this global disaster and the way we do to protect Covid-19 from entering Tonga.

    “Please do not resist religion and the government together with the churches here in Tonga in our fasting policy as I believe that is not prudent.”

    The government organised a national fast and day of prayer backed by the Wesleyan and Catholic churches in April.

    Fasting

    There appears to be no agreement on what effect fasting has on the immune system. Recent studies have shown contradictory results depending on what type of fast is used and for how long.

    Studies have been based on experiments on animals, including mice, with one Sydney-based researcher saying there wasn’t “any scientific evidence to justify” one type of fasting over another and that in any case it was hard to apply the results of animal tests to humans.

    Studies at Yale University have shown that fasting induces different responses to bacterial and viral infections, while work in the UK has argued that results are dependent on what type of fast is used.

    In Muslim countries, where the faithful are expected to fast between sunrise and sunset during the months of Ramadan, illness has long been accepted a reason not to fast.

    5 COMMENTS

    1. Koe feilaulau oku ikai koha mea keke fakamalohi he koe kaihaa ia.. Koe tefitoi mooni ke akoi pea tauataina e kakai kenau fili kihe mea tenau fai.. Koe ha kuo toe ai ai ke mole e paaga hoo puna takai koe fakalotui kae ha leva kau faifekau ia kuo vahe kihe gaahi motu kenau fai honau gaahi fatongia ?? Ikai ke tau kei tui kihe fonua lotu .. ka kuo Tonga fakamalohi mo taeofa.. 💔💔💔

    2. Oku lahi ngaahi uhinga oku keu hao ai a Tonga meihe mahaki covid19
      Uluaki oku ikai koha fonua pe tsulanga vakapuna faka tuapuleanga ke tuuta kiai vakapuna fiha ngeau he aho moe kaupasese ke oatu mahaki ki Tonga he koe tupuanga ia pipihi mahaki I mamani koe fetuku holo ehe kakai meihe fonua kehekehe oku nau folau holo I mamani
      Ua koho tau kii motu oku siisii pea toe tokosii hono kakai pea oku fai ngofua ai ke tokongai mahaki faka taha oku ikai koha kakai folau faka aho kitautolu I mamani ke hange koe ngaahi fonua toko lahi
      Tolu koho tau fonua ngaungaapi Nuusila mo Aositelelia naa mau fuu malui supito kinautolu meihe mahaki heene asi pea tau hao ai o ikai hange ko Europe mo America o ikai mau fuu tokanga kae pipihi mahaki mau kakai tokolahi pea moe mate

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here