Tongan Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa is more dangerous than Covid-19, veteran publisher Kalafi Moala has claimed.
He went on to say the Prime Minister’s state of mind showed he was self-important.
Moala’s comments are part of the storm of comment and accusations that have flown back and forth since he attacked the Government’s prayer and fasting tours as a waste of time and money.
It has also been reported that Hon. Tu’i’onetoa believes Tonga has been kept free from the global pandemic because of fasting.
The Prime Minister appears to have been particularly incensed by claims that the tours have cost TP$100,000 each and questions about whether wives who accompanied Cabinet members on tour were paid travel allowances.
In a startling accusation, the Prime Minister has labelled critics and opponents of his government as wife beaters.
Without naming anybody, he said some of his critics had beaten their wives until they suffered a miscarriage.
He claimed that one in four women were abused and that number doubled after the lockdown restrictions.
“It appears that your accusations reflect the fact you agreed to support abuse and violence against mothers and women by violating them,” Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said in Tongan.
“No wonder why these critics are doing this because most either had marriage break-ups or were wife beaters.
“I appeal to you leaders of the country and those of you who regarded themselves as leaders and people trusted you to take your wives with you during the government tour. Stop looking down at them.
“Stop beating your wives otherwise they will miscarry their baby and you will be sued and you might end up being imprisoned.”
Ministers’ wives pay
He said the pay per diem for a Minister’s wife if they went on tour was TP $95.
“You cannot buy peanuts with that money,” he said.
“It can only be used to reward dancers during ceremonies to celebrate construction of new wharves or building of new women’s weaving houses. If we offered to do a dance during that ceremony it’s my own money and handicrafts I used to pay for the expenses.”
However, the Prime Minister has not denied the basic thrust of the allegations about the tour.
Instead he downplayed the accusations, which were first raised by Opposition MP and former Minister of Police Mateni Tapueluelu.
The Minister of Finance was not allowed by the Prime Minister to answer queries in Parliament about the traveling allowance allegations.
The Minister of MEIDECC said he travelled with his wife and she was not paid.
The House was told the Acting Minister of Law, who is also the Minister of Labour and Economic Development, Samiu Vaipulu, would answer MP’s queries regarding the accusation.
Kaniva News has asked Hon. Vaipulu whether the leaked information was true or not. He did not deny it. Instead he said he had no wife therefore he did not know who made the payments.
In Tongan he said: “‘Oku ikai haku hoa keu ilo pe ko hai naane totongi.”
The Prime Minister also launched a series of personal attacks on Moala.
Moala denied personally attacking the Prime Minister in a way that might lead him to respond so personally.
Moala described the Prime Minister’s attacks as disparaging and pointless.
He said the Prime Minister did not like to be criticised and this was why he made personal attacks.
He alleged Tu’i’onetoa relied heavily on ousted Cabinet Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu on ideas of how to run the government.
Moala also warned the Prime Minister that his attack on journalists would not deter them from working to expose government misdeeds and raising questions about issues like Lulutai airlines.
The main points
- Tongan Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa is more dangerous than Covid-19, veteran publisher Kalafi Moala has claimed.
- In a startling accusation, the Prime Minister has labelled critics and opponents of his government as wife beaters.