A man took the PTOA leaders to task for losing the premiership election in 2019 saying Popua and Pātangata villages had been disadvantaged by the loss.
He said plans designed to repair and fill their roads did not go as planned after the new government took over.
The man, whose name was not introduced before he took the microphone in a hall in Popua last night, accused the Party MPs of being power-hungry and causing chaos within the party
He wanted answers during the meeting as to why the Party was defeated after all the only thing for them to do was to nominate a Prime Minister to allow them to continue on running the government.
“How come did it happen?” the man emotionally asked the meeting who was attended by the Party Leader Semisi Sika, Tongatapu 4 MP Mateni Tapueluelu and some of the Party’s MPs as well as the supporters of the Party from the villages.
He said after Democratic Leader Akilisi died members of the Party “began vying for the premiership”.
The man said the Party leaders made who was going to be our next Prime Minister a focus of attention and forgot their duty to protect the power they were holding to continue on running the government.
He said the current Prime Minister was elected to Parliament because he ran as a candidate for the PTOA Party.
“Why didn’t you vote for him to become the Prime Minister because after all you will all become his Cabinet ministers?” the man asked. .
Another woman echoed the man’s concerns during the meeting and demanded answers from the Party.
The number of attendants as well as reactions in support of MP Tapueluelu last night was huge.
Tongatapu 4 MP response
The Tongatapu 4 MP Mateni Tapueluelu responded with an account of what he claimed was what was discussed in a meeting between him and late ‘Akilisi in which the then leader revealed to him his plan to resign as Prime Minister before he died.
Tapueluelu, who was at one stage seen visibly tearful, said he then sought advice from the then Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu.
He said the legal process for ‘Akilisi to follow before he could resign was documented and he handed it to ‘Akilisi in April 2019 and that was the end of it. ‘Akilisi did not resign. He died in New Zealand on September 2019.
As Kaniva News reported last year, Tapueluelu claimed people who were very close to ‘Akilisi at the time but were not Members of Parliament or Party members gave the late leader of the democrats wrong advice to stay in the premiership until his death.
Tapueluelu said if ‘Akilisi’s resignation had happened according to plan, the veteran democratic pioneer would have been able to assist a smooth transition of power and make sure the party still won the following premiership election.
Tapueluelu, in his response during the meeting last night, did not mention anything about claims his move to challenge Tu’i’onetoa’s being nominated by the PTOA to be the Deputy Prime Minister before the 2019 premiership election triggered a row which many believed it opened an opportunity for the noble MPs to approach some of the PTOA MPs urging them to join them in setting up a new party.
The People’s Party was then set up with strong memberships which included five PTOA MPs. They also won the premiership election of 2019.
Party Leader Semisi Sika told the meeting last night he called a meeting after ‘Akilisi’s funeral and burial services and they agreed that Sika would be their next Prime Minister.
But in a followed up meeting it became clear to him some of the Party MPs had different plans about the premiership election candidates.
He said in one of their meeting the name of Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, the current Prime Minister and the then Party’s Minister of Finance was nominated as the candidate for the premiership.
Sika said at one stage he told the Party to remove his name from the list as long as they were still standing together to win the premiership election.
Another version of why PTOA lost the election
As Kaniva News reported last year, Former PTOA Cabinet Minister Dr Tu’i Uata alleged that MP Tapueluelu wanted to become Deputy Prime Minister before the 2019 premiership election, even though the Party decided that that position must be given to Dr Tu’i’onetoa, the current Prime Minister.
Dr Uata claimed Tapueluelu’s persistence to have the post had enraged Dr Tu’i’onetoa who was already satisfied with being nominated as Deputy Prime Minister.
He said Hon. Tu’i’onetoa advised them in a meeting after the death of ‘Akilisi to stand together to make sure they won the next premiership election to fulfill their late leader ‘Akilisi’s four-year term.
Dr Uata also said Dr Tu’i’onetoa scolded Hon Tapueluelu during that meeting, accusing him of being bad-mouthed and two-faced.
Dr Tu’i’onetoa finally left the Party before he reportedly approached by the Nobles to form the People’s Party, for which he won the Premiership.
Dr Uata alleged a last-ditch effort to bring back Hon Tu’i’onetoa to the Party before the premiership election failed because Hon Tapueluelu refused to join them in a reconciliation meeting planned to be held with Hon Tu’i’onetoa.
At the time Kaniva News contacted Tapueluelu for comment.
Tu’i’onetoa supports Dr Uata
Hon Tu’i’onetoa told Kaniva News at the time Dr Tu’i Uata was correct when he said Tu’i’onetoa told members in the first PTOA meeting after ‘Akilisi’s death to stand together and leave everything as it was so they could win the premiership election and complete ‘Akilisi’s terms.
He said he did this because he respected ‘Akilisi.
“I told them let’s not rock the boat,” PM Tu’i’onetoa said.
“Let’s create a constitution for us to follow so that we are organised.”
Hon Tu’i’onetoa said they did not believe in him so he told them he quit.
He said he told them he has been through the same failed scenario before and he did not want to go through it again.
He said he told the Party before he left they would row about who would have the power and would end up in disarray.