NA’E LOI NAI ‘A E TU’I?

Posted: 24-Sep-2020 11:43 AM

Editorials

“Koe fa’unga hotau Pule’anga ‘i he ngaahi ‘aho kimu’a ko ‘eku pule na’e fakaleveleva, pea ko hoku loto ‘a e lao, pea koau ‘oku ou fili ‘a ia ke kau ki he Fale Alea, pea koau ‘oku pule ke fakanofo ‘a e hou’eiki pe fakahifo ha hou’eiki. Ka ‘oku ha kiate au ko e kuonga fakapo’uli ia, pea koe akenga fo’ou ‘eni ia ma’a Tonga. Ko ia ‘oku ou foaki ‘ae Konisitutone pea fakahoko hoku fatongia ‘o fakatatau ki he Konisitutone pea pehe kiate kinautolu ‘oku muiaki mai, pea ke hoko ‘ae Konisitutone ko e makatu’u ia ‘o Tonga ‘o Ta’engata.”

Koe To Folofola Malanga ‘ae Tu’i, 1875 mei he voliume 11, fika. 6 ‘o e Po’opo’oi ‘i he 1875.

‘Oku lahi ‘a e taimi ‘oku tau fanongoa ai ‘ae  tala ‘oku makehe ai ‘a Tonga mei he ngaahi fonua ‘oe Pasifiki. Taimi lahi ‘oku tau polepole ‘i he tu’unga ko e ‘uhi ne ‘ikai kolonia ki tautolu ‘e ha fonua muli. Ko e me’a fakaofo ia ko e tolonga ‘a e ngaahi fa’unga hotau pule’anga he ngaahi lau’i ta’u mai ko ‘eni. Ka ‘oku tala foki tokua ko e hu’u kotoa pe ‘a e ngaahi fakakaukau koia mei he tui ko e Konisitutone na’a ne malu’i kitautolu mo hotau fonua.

Kaekehe, ko e ‘aho ko ia ne foaki ai ‘a e Konisitutone ne kei tokolahi pe kakai Tonga ia ne ‘ikai ke nau mahino’i ‘a e Konisitutone, pea mo e ni’ihi ‘o e kakai ne ‘ikai pe ha nau manako pe ‘ilo ki he lao. Ne si’isi’i ke fai ha talanga fakafonua ia ki he Konisitutone pe ko ha tanaki fakakaukau mei he kakai ki hono fa’u ‘o e Konisitutone. Ka koe lahi taha ‘o e ngaahi tohi ne fatu ‘aki ‘a e Konisitutone ko e tatanaki mai ia mei he kakai muli na’a nau ‘i Tonga ni. ‘I he taha ‘o e ngaahi tohi ne fakaanga’i ‘a e Konisitutone ko Basil Thompson na’a ne fakaha ai ko hono fakatonga’i ‘o e Konisitutone ‘oku ‘ikai ke mahino ngofua ia ki he kakai pea ko e fakapilitania ‘oku to e ta’emahino ange ia. Ko e fakatu’utamaki he na’e ‘ikai ke maa’usia fefe ‘e he kau muli ‘a e tukufakaholo ‘a e  kakai Tonga ‘a ia ‘oku mamafa ange ia ‘i he Konisitutone. Ko e ma’uma’uluta ‘a e sosaieti Tonga ko e ngaue ia ‘a e fa’unga tukufakaholo pea konga si’i pe ki he lao. Ko e Konisitutone ia ne hange pe ia ha paasipooti ke tau kau ai ki he toenga ‘o mamani.

Ka neongo ‘ae ngaahi fetokehekehe ‘aki ‘i he Konisitutone mo hono fakahoko ko ia ‘o e Konisitutone, ka na’e lahi mo e ngaahi ngaue na’e fakahoko ke fakapapau’i ‘oku tatau ‘a e lao ki he taha kotoa. Kae taimi lahi ‘i he feinga ke potupotu tatau ‘a e lao ki he taha kotoa, ka ‘oku kei tu’u fehangahangai pe ia mo e tukufakaholo. 

Fakataataa ‘aki ‘a e kupu 4 ‘o e Konisitutone:

4. ‘E tatau pe ki he kakai kotoa pe ‘a e lao ‘o Tonga

‘E taha pe ‘a e lao ‘o Tonga ni ki he hou‘eiki mo e me‘avale ki he fa‘ahinga kakai kotoa pe ‘oku ‘ikai ko e Tonga mo e Tonga. ‘E ‘ikai fokotu‘u ha lao ‘i he fonua ni ki ha fa‘ahinga pea tuku ha fa‘ahinga ka ‘e taha pe mo mamafa tatau pe ki he kakai kotoa pe ‘o e fonua ni.

Kae hili ange pe hono fakaha mahino mai ‘e he lao ‘oku taha pe ki he taha kotoa, pea toe fa’u leva ‘a e ngaahi lao kehekehe ‘ia ki he Tu’i, Hou’eiki, mo e Kakai. Kae tautau tefito pe ki he Konisitutone, ‘o kapau ‘e vakai ki ai ha taha ‘o fekau’aki mo e koloa ‘a e fonua ko e kelekele. ‘I he kupu 104 ‘oku ha ai- ‘Oku ‘i he Tu‘i ‘a e fonua kotoa pe mo e kelekele mo e ngaahi tofi‘a mo e ngaahi ‘api pea ‘oku ngofua kiate ia ke finangalo ke tuku ki ha hou‘eiki nopele mo ha hou‘eiki ma‘u hingoa pe ha kau matapule ‘oku ne finangalo ki ai ha tofi‘a pe ko ha ngaahi tofi‘a ke hoko ko honau ngaahi tofi‘a ke tukufakaholo. Pea ‘oku hoko atu leva ‘a e kupu 104 ke ne fakaha ai ‘e hoko ‘a e tohi ni ko e fuakava fakapapau ‘e he Tu‘i mo e hou‘eiki ma‘a kinautolu mo kinautolu ‘e hoko mai he tukufakaholo ‘o lauikuonga. ‘Oku ‘ikai fakaha ha lao pehe ni ia ma’ae kakai ‘o e fonua ke nau kau he ma’u tofi’a ‘o ta’engata. Ka ‘oku pau ki he kakai Tonga ke nau toki tohi ‘o tala ki ha ‘api pe kole ha konga ‘api meiate kinautolu ‘oku ma’u tofi’a.

Ko e Fale Alea foki ‘oku ha mo e me’a tatau ai. ‘Oku fili ‘e he kau Nopele ‘e toko 33 ‘a e kau fakafofonga Nopele ‘e toko 9 ki he Fale Alea, ka koe kau fakafofonga ‘o e kakai ‘oku fili mai ia he toenga ‘oe fonua. Ko e ha ‘oku ‘ikai fa’u ai e lao ke fili kotoa ‘e he kakai ‘a e kau memipa Nopele ki he Fale Alea pea mo e kau memipa ‘o e kakai ki he Fale Alea.

‘I he ‘aho 8 ‘Akosi 2020 na’e fakaha ai ‘e he Fale Alea ‘o Tonga kuo ‘ataa ‘a e sea ko ia ‘o e Fakafofonga Nopele ‘o Niua. Ko e fakahoko pe ia ‘o e lao ‘o e Fale Alea kupu 7 ‘oku ha ai: Ka ‘i ai ha fakafofonga ‘e mama‘o mei he Fale Alea ‘o lahi hake ‘i he mahina hohoko ‘e 12 mei he fakataha ‘ae Fale Alea pea ‘e ‘ataa leva ‘a hono tu’unga. Ko e tu’unga ko ‘eni na’e ‘i ai ‘a Lord Fusitu’a pea ne talu ‘ene mavahe mei ai mei he ‘aho 5 ‘Akosi 2019.

Ka neongo ‘a e mama’o atu ‘a Lord Fusitu’a pea tupunga ai hono tuku ia ki tu’a, ka koe uike ko ‘eni kuo maliu atu ne toe fili ‘a Fusitu’a ia ki he lakanga Fakafofonga Nopele Niua ki he Fale Alea lolotonga ‘oku ‘ikai te ne ‘i Tonga ni. ‘Oku malava ‘eni ke hoko ko e ‘uhi he ko e lao ki he Fili Fale Alea ‘oku kehe pe ngaahi tu’utu’uni ki he kau Nopele pea kehe pe tu’utu’uni ia ki he kakai. Ko ia ‘oku ‘ikai ke tau ofo ai he mo’ua ki he hia ‘a e kau Nopele ni’ihi ka ‘oku nau kei ‘i loto Fale Alea pe. Ka ‘o kapau ko ha taha ‘oe kakai ‘oku ne mo’ua ‘e ‘ikai tene lava ke fili Fale Alea.

Koia ‘oku faingata’a ai ke tau fakapapau’i pe ko fe nai ‘a e lau ‘a e Konisitutone ke tatau ‘a e lao ki he taha kotoa ‘i he fonua ni. ‘Oku tau nofo ‘o fifili pe ko e ha nai ‘a e taumu’a ne foaki ai ‘a e Konisitutone ‘e Tupou I. Pe ‘oku te’eki ai ha taha te ne fehu’ia tonu ‘a e Konisitutone ke ‘ilo ai pe ‘oku ngaue pe ‘ikai.

Ka ko hono solova ‘oku ha pe mo ia ‘i he Konisitutone kupu 82 ‘a ia ‘oku ha ai ko e Lao Pule ‘a e Konisitutone – Ko e Konisitutone ni ko e lao pule ia ‘o e Pule‘anga ni pea kapau ‘oku ‘i ai ha lao kehe ‘oku faikehekehe mo e Konisitutone, ko e lao kehe ko ia kuo pau ke ta‘e‘aonga ia, ‘o fakatatau ki he ngata‘anga ‘o e faikehekehe ko ia. ‘Oku taau leva ia ke tau kumi ‘ae ngaahi lao ‘oku ‘ikai hoa mo taau pea moe Konisitutone ‘o fakata’e’aonga’i ia ‘o kamata pe mei he Konisitutone.

Ko ia ‘oku tau kei fehu’ia pe- ‘Oku ngaue nai ‘a e Konisitutone pe ko ha loi pe ia ‘ae Tu’i? He ‘oku anga fefe ke hoko ha makatu’u ‘o ta’engata ‘o kapau ‘oku ‘ikai te ne falute ‘a e taha kotoa, he ‘oku ‘ikai te ne potupotu tatau ki he taha kotoa pea ‘oku ne fakafaikeheke’i kitautolu. Mahalo na’a ko e mo’oni pe ‘a e ‘ekinaki ne fai ‘e Basil Thompson ‘i he ‘ene vakai ki he Konisitutone; ko ha fo’i fakangalingali pe ia ‘o lau hono tohi – “Ko e me‘a ‘i he ha mai ko e finangalo ‘o e ‘Otua ke tau‘atāina ‘a e tangata ko e me‘a ‘i he ‘ene ngaohi ‘o toto pe taha ‘a e kakai kotoa pe,” pea fatu ia ke mamafa ke ne lohiaki’i ‘aki ha sola ‘o ne pehe tofu pe ko Tonga ko e fonua mahu’inga mo fakalakalaka, kae taa koaa ‘oku ‘ikai ke fe’unga ia mo taau ma’ae kakai Tonga.

 

DID THE KING LIE TO US?

 “The form of our Government in the days past was that my rule was absolute, and that my wish was law and that I chose who should belong to the Parliament and that I could please myself to create chiefs and alter titles. But that, it appears to me, was a sign of darkness and now a new era has come to Tonga - an era of enlightenment - it is my wish to grant a Constitution and to carry on my duties in accordance with it and those that come after me shall do the same and the Constitution shall be for Tonga an eternal foundation stone.”

The King’s Malanga 1875 began a new era for Tonga and was documented in Vol. 11, No. 6 of the Po’opo’oi in 1875.

We often hear a lot about the uniqueness of Tonga and why it stood out amongst other Pacific island nations. We somehow pride ourselves over the fact that we have never been colonized by any foreign power and that Tonga was exceptional. How our institutions have survived over the years with very little change was phenomenal. But in many ways those ideas are said to be grounded in our belief in the constitution that gave us sovereignty over our land and our people.

However, by the time the constitution was granted most of the Tongan population did not understand it, nor did the common people took any interest in law. There was very little effort to conduct public consultations and awareness on the constitution, while most of the articles written in the constitution were contributed to by Europeans. As Basil Thompson expressed in his critiques of the Tongan constitution saying that the Tongan version was unintelligible and the English was ridiculous. The danger was that Europeans did not fully understand that tradition in Tonga far outweighs the constitution. In essence the actual stability of the Tongan society was based on the traditional structures rather than the constitution. The constitution was merely a passport to the modern world.

Despite the confusions over the constitution and its application, many efforts have been made to actually provide equality in Tonga whereby there is equal protection of the law and equal application of the law. Yet traditional barriers still persist.

Take for instance clause 4 of the constitution which states:

4. Same law for all classes

There shall be but one law in Tonga for chiefs and commoners for non-Tongans and Tongans. No laws shall be enacted for one class and not for another class but the law shall be the same for all the people of this land.

Then we go on to create laws and strike down laws different for the King, different for the nobles, and different for the commoners. Especially in the constitution itself, when one looks into the control of land resources in Tonga. Whereby article 104 which gives the King control on all the land and also provides land for the Nobles to become his hereditary estates. It further proclaims that this declaration shall become a covenant binding on the King and chiefs of this Kingdom for themselves and their heirs and successors for ever. Meanwhile, commoners are not treated equally with any estate. Commoners will have to apply for an allotment with the consent of the estate holder.

In the Legislative Assembly 9 Nobles are elected by some 33 Nobles to represent them into Parliament. While, the people’s representative must be elected from the general public. Why not let all the Noble’s seats and People’s seats be elected by the general public?

On August 8th 2020, the Legislative Assembly announced the seat of the Nobles Representative to Parliament of Niua was declared vacant. This is in the operation of the law whereby section 7 of the Legislative Act requires a Member of Parliament not to be absent from the Assembly for more than 12 consecutive calendar months. The seat was held by Lord Fusitu’a and he has been away from Assembly meetings since August 5th 2019.

Although Lord Fusitu’a was the main reason the seat was vacated, a week ago he was re-elected in the Noble’s by-election to the exact same seat that he vacated. He was also reportedly not in the country during the by-election. This is only possible because under the Electoral Act the rules for elections are different for the Nobles and the People. It isn’t strange why some nobles whom were found guilty of various offences are sitting in Parliament today, while people’s representatives with criminal offences are not permitted to stand for elections.

Thus it is difficult identify where exactly is the phrase that the law shall be the same for all the people of this land. And so we come to wonder whether King Tupou I really meant what he said when he granted the constitution or whether we have not actually challenged the constitution. The only way forward is in the constitution itself- clause 82 states that the constitution is the supreme law of the Kingdom and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. We must remove all other laws that is inconsistent with the constitution and beginning with the constitution itself.

The question that remains- Does the constitution actually work or did our great King lied to us? How does a stone become an eternal foundation if it does not bind us together, but rather treating us differently? Perhaps Basil Thompson was right after all that this constitution was a pretentious document beginning with “Seeing it appears to be the will of God for man to be free,” accompanied with its complicated machinery to deceive strangers into the belief that Tonga was a significant State with growing importance and prosperity, was utterly unsuited to the Tongans.

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