Posted: 23-Jul-2020 12:18 PM
‘I he ta’u 1998 ne faka’ilo ai ‘ae Palemia malolo kuo ne pekia ‘Akilisi Pohiva ‘o tukuaki’i ki ha’ane lau’ikovi’i ‘a ‘Ene ‘Afio Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, ‘i he tohi ne ha ‘i he nusipepa Wall Street Journal ‘o ‘Amelika ‘i ‘Akosi 1994; ‘o ne tala koe Tu’i ‘oku tikitato. Na’a ne tukuaki’i ‘ae Tu’i pea mo ‘ene kau Minisita na’a ne fili ki he ta’etotonu ‘enau ngaue ne fakahoko ki he pa’anga ne ma’u mei hono fakatau ‘o e paasipooti Tonga. Na’e tefito ‘a e tokonga kihe founga ngaue ‘a e Tu’i mo ‘ene kau Minisita ‘oku ‘ikai ke nau taliui ki he kakai Tonga.
‘I he konga ‘o e tala tu’utu’uni ‘a e Tu’i Fakamaaulahi ‘o e ‘aho koia CJ Finnigan ki he hopo ko ‘eni na’a ne pehe ai “….. “ ‘Oku tikitato ‘a e Tu’i”. ‘Oku ‘ikai ke ha mahino kiate au na’e fakahoko ‘e he faka’iloa ‘a e lea ko ‘eni. Ka ‘o kapau na’a ne fakahoko, pea ‘i he tu’unga ‘oku fakahoko ai ‘a e lea ko ‘eni ‘oku ‘uhinga ia “Koe Tu’i ‘oku ne mafai fakaleveleva pea ‘oku ‘ikai ke ne tali ‘a e ngaahi tautapa ‘oku fai atu ke taliui ki ai mo ‘ene kau Minisita…. Ka ‘o kapau ko ‘ene lea ‘eni, pea ‘oku ha mai kiate au koe mo’oni ia. Fakatatau ki he ngaahi fakamo’oni kuo tuku mai ‘e he faka’iloa ‘i he hopo ko ‘eni ‘oku ha mai ai hono ta’e tali ‘a e toutou feinga ‘a e faka’iloa ke taliui ‘a e kau taki ‘i he fa’unga pule ko ‘eni ‘oku ‘ikai ke ha mai ai ‘a e taliui.”
Ne hao ‘a ‘Akilisi Pohiva ‘i he hopo ko ‘eni pea ‘i hono fakama’opo’opo ‘e he Tu’i Fakamaaulahi ‘a e hopo na’a ne fakaha ai koe tefito ‘o e me’a ne hoko ‘oku tuhu tonu ia ki he Tu’i pea mo e tu’utu’uni ko ia ke tipositi ‘a e pa’anga ne ma’u mei he fakatau pasipooti ‘i ‘Amelika pea ko e mo’oni’i me’a ia na’e hoko. Pea hoko atu foki ‘a e fakama’ala’ala ‘a e Tu’ifakamaaulahi ‘o pehe ko e hopo ko ‘eni ‘oku kaunga tonu ki ai ‘a e Konisitutone he ‘oku fakafotunga ‘e he Konisitutone ha fa’unga pule fakaleveleva ‘i he malumalu ‘o e Konisitutone. Hili ange ‘a e hopo ne to e ha mahino ange ai ‘a e fiema’u ke fakahoko ha liliu fakakonisitutone mo fakapolitikale. Ne ‘osi taa tu’o lahi pe foki hono fakaha ‘e ‘Akilisi Pohiva ko e founga pe ‘e tau’ataina ai ‘a Ene ‘Afio mei ha fakaanga mo e laulea ‘e fai kiate ia ko ‘ene hoko ko e Tu’i Fakalangilangi hange ko ia ko e Kuini ‘o Pilitania.
Kaekehe ko e liliu fakakonisitutone ko ia ‘o e 2010 ne momoi ai ‘e he ‘Ene ‘Afio ‘a hono mafai pule ki he Kapineti pea ‘e makatu’unga ai ‘a e taukave ki he taliui pea mo e pule lelei. Ko e taha foki ‘eni ha ngaahi liliu lalahi taha kuo hoko ‘i he hisitolia ‘o e fonua pea mo e Pule’anga Tonga. Ne fakafou ‘a e ngaue ki hono fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi liliu ko ‘eni ‘i he talanga fakafonua lahi ‘i Tonga ni pea mo muli foki pea tataki ia ‘e he Komisoni ki he Liliu Fakakonisitutone mo Fakapolitikale. Ko e taha ‘o e ngaahi fokotu’u ne ma’u mei he ola ‘o e ngaahi talanga ko ‘eni ke momoi ‘a e mafai ‘o e Tu’i ki he Kapineti ‘o taliui ‘a e Kapineti ki he Fale Alea ‘o Tonga. Ne fakapaasi ‘e he Fale Alea ‘a e fokotu’u ko ‘eni pea fakamo’oni huafa ki ai ‘ene ‘Afio Tupou V. Ko ia ne ha mahino ai ko e Tu’i mo e Fakataha tokoni ‘e ‘ikai ke nau to e kau ki he Pule’anga pea ko e Pule’anga ko e Kapineti ia ‘o taliui ‘a e Kapineti ki he Fale Alea ‘o Tonga.
Ka neongo ‘a e ngaahi liliu fakakonisitutone mo fakapolitikale ne fakahoko, ka ‘oku ne kei ‘i ai pe ngaahi konga ‘o e liliu ko ‘eni ‘oku kei ha ‘uli’uli latai pea ‘ao’aofia. ‘I he ngaahi ta’u ki mui ni mai kuo e’a hake ‘a e ngaahi fefusiaki ‘i he ngaahi mafai na’e kei puke ‘e he Tu’i mo e Fakataha Tokoni tautau tefito ki he ngaahi mafai ke fili ‘a e ngaahi lakanga ki he Pule’anga. ‘Oku fakatefito ‘eni ‘i he ngaahi mafai ‘a e Tu’i ‘i he Fakataha Tokoni ke fili ‘a e kau Fakamaau ki he Fakamaau’anga pea mo fili ‘a e ‘Ateni Seniale, pea pehe foki ki he mafai ke fili mo tuku ki tu’a ‘a e Komisiona Polisi. Ko e ‘aho ni kuo to e fakaha ‘e he Pule’anga ke tuku atu mo e mafai ki hono fili ‘o e Sekelitali ki Muli ke faitu’utu’uni ki ai ‘a e Tu’i mo e Fakataha Tokoni. ‘Oku to e ‘o hake ai pe ‘a e ngaahi talanga tatau ‘o fehu’ia ai ‘a e kaunga ‘a e Tu’i ki hono fakalele ‘a e Pule’anga.
Ne ‘osi kalanga pe foki ‘a e Komisoni ki he Liliu Fakakonisitutone mo Fakapolitikale ki mu’a mo e fakatokanga mamafa ki hono fakakau tonu ‘a e Tu’i ki he ngaahi tu’utu’uni ‘oku kaunga ki hono fakalele ‘o e Pule’anga ‘e ‘ikai ke fakapotopoto ia. Kapau ‘oku fihia ha taha kuo fili mai ‘e he Tu’i ki ha fa’ahinga palopalema pe ko ha Fakamaau pe ko ha Komisiona Polisi pea ‘oku pau ai pe ke kau mo e Tu’i ki hono fehu’ia he ko ‘ene kakai na’a ne fili. Koe fehu’i mafatukituki leva ia ke tau ‘eke; pe ‘e malava ke ‘omi ‘a e Tu’i ke taliui ki ha ‘ane tu’utu’uni pe ‘ikai? ‘Oku tui foki ‘a e tokolahi kapau te tau fai pehe ni pea ‘e hoko ia ke ne uesia ‘a e langilangi mo e ngeia e Fale ‘o e Tu’i.
Ke tanaki foki ki ai, kuo pau ki he Fale Alea ke ne fehu’i ki he Kapineti ha fa’ahinga me’a pea kuo pau ke taliui ki ai ‘a e Kapineti, ka ‘e ngali kovi foki ia ke tau fakahoko tatau ia ki he Tu’i. Ko e tesi lahi taha leva ia ki he ‘etau liliu fakapolitkale ko ‘eni, ko e fefusiaki ‘a e ngaahi mafai ne fili ‘e he Tu’i pea mo e kau Minisita ne fili ‘e he kakai. Na’a tau mamata tonu pe ‘i he ngaahi Pule’anga ki mui ni ‘o kau ai ‘a e ta’efiemalie ‘a e Minisita Lao malolo Clive Edwards ki he ngaahi lakanga Fakamaau pe te nau taliui fefe kiate ia ko e Minisita pea ko ia ‘a e Minisita te ne taliui ia ki he Fale Alea. ‘Oku tatau tofu pe ia pea mo e to kehekehe he va ‘o e Minisita Polisi malolo Mateni Tapueluelu pea mo e Komisiona Polisi, pea longonoa ai pe fo’i mo’oni ko ia ki he tapui hono hu mai naunau tau ‘i he 2018, kae fefe tangata ‘Amelika ne hola mei he ‘Api Polisi Neiafu hili hono puke ia ‘o tukuaki’i ki hono fakapoongi hono uaifi, pea talu ai ‘ikai ha tali ke solova e keisi koia.
Ko e ngaahi lakanga ‘i he Pule’anga ‘oku fili ‘e he Tu’i ‘oku nau taliui kinautolu ki he Tu’i mo e Fakataha Tokoni ‘o ‘ikai ko e kau Minisita moe Fale Alea. Ko e ‘uhia ko e kaunga ‘a e Tu’i ki he ngaue ‘a e Pule’anga pea kuo pau ke fakakau ‘ae Tu’i ki he talanga fakapolitkale ‘a e fonua, pea kuo pau ke lava ‘a e Tu’i ke ne taliui ki he ngaahi talafili ‘a e kakai ‘o ka hoko ha me’a ‘i he ngaahi lakanga ‘oku ne fili. Ne ‘osi fakatokanga mai pe ‘a e Komisoni ki he Liliu Fakakonisitutone mo Fakapolitikale ‘a e mafatukituki ko ia ‘a e mahu’inga ke tau fakapapau’i ‘oku tau pukepuke ‘a e langilangi mo e ngeia ‘o ‘Ene ’Afio, pea faka’ehi’ehi mei ha‘ane kau ki he ngaahi fetomokosi, fefusiaki, ngaahi palopalema, mo e ngaahi feke’ike’i fakapolitikale ‘a e Pule’anga. Ka ko e hala fononga ko ia ‘oku tau lolotonga tu’u ai ‘oku hange ka toe foki mai pe ‘a ‘Ene ‘Afio ki he uhouhonga ‘o e ngaahi talanga fakapolitikale.
TESTING THE POLITICAL REFORM
In 1998 the Late Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva was accused of defaming His Majesty the King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV in an article in the Wall Street Journal in August 1994; calling the King a dictator. He accused the King and his Ministers of financial legerdemain in failing to account for continuous calls for audit of monies obtained from the sales of Tongan passports. The main concern refers to the King and his appointees with their conduct and duties without being accountable to the people of Tonga.
In part of the ruling in this trial deliberated by the then Chief Justice Finnigan states “…….."The King is a dictator". It is not shown to my satisfaction that the accused actually said that. But if he did then, in their context those words can only mean "The King is an authoritarian ruler who ignores my repeated request for accountability by himself and his Ministers... If he said this, it appears to me to be the truth. Taking account of the evidence by the accused during the trial it appears to me not surprising that his attempts to obtain accountability in a system of government which does not provide for it are ignored.”
‘Akilisi Pohiva was acquitted and in the closing remarks of Chief Justice Finnigan accentuates that the statement directly referring to the King and the proceeds of the sales of Tongan passports to be deposited in America came from the King was a statement of fact. The Chief Justice statement further elaborates the significance of the Constitution in the trial whereby the constitution creates an authoritarian form of Government governed by the Constitution. Hence, the quest for constitutional and political reform became inevitable and the people demanding a government that was more accountable and transparent. Pohiva once suggested that the only way for the King to escape criticism was to become a ceremonial figure of the country like that of the Queen of England.
Subsequently, the Constitutional Reforms of 2010 saw the devolution of power from the Monarch to the Executive branch of Government as a way forward providing for more accountability and good governance. Throughout the history of Tonga’s government, this was the most significant constitutional change. These changes eventuate of various reform processes including exhaustive public consultations for political reform led by the Constitutional and Electoral Commission. It is one of the recommendations of the Constitutional and Electoral Commission which were passed by the Legislative Assembly and assented by the late King George Tupou V. The approved recommendation pertains that the King and Privy Council would no longer be part of the Executive Government and the Executive Government shall consist of the Cabinet answerable to the Legislative Assembly.
However, there are certain areas in the constitutional reform of 2010 which remains uncertain. In recent years the issues surrounding the powers of the King in Privy Council to appoint key government offices has been the center of political debates. This is regarding the powers of the King for the appointment and supervision of the Judiciary and the office of the Attorney General, and of course the powers to appoint and dismiss the Commissioner of Police. Today the government’s newly proposed legislation for the King to also have the power to appoint the Secretary for Foreign Affairs has yet again attracted public discussions on the involvement of the King in the daily operations of the government.
The Constitutional and Electoral Commission echoed an early warning that the involvement of the King in the decisions directly relating to the operations of government would not be wise. If there were to be any controversy concerning the Kings Appointees whether it be a judge or a police commissioner, or the Attorney General; then His Majesty will automatically be drawn into the controversy. Hence, the question that will arise is whether the King can be made publicly accountable or not? It is widely believed that such a practice would diminish the dignity of the King.
In addition, the Legislative must demand certain explanations from Cabinet Ministers and Cabinet Ministers must answer to the Legislative, but the King cannot be treated alike. The real test however, can be witnessed in recent years and the relationship between the Kings Appointees and Ministers of the Ministries in which they serve under. The former Minister of Justice Clive Edwards had expressed his concerns with the duties of judges and how accountable judges were to the Minister and the Minister to the Legislative. Another similar case occurred between the former Minister of Police Mateni Tapueluelu and the Police Commissioner. The truths on the prohibition of gun imports in 2018 has not been unfolded, and what of the 2016 escape of Dean Fletcher from Police custody in Vava’u an American accused of his wife’s murder. Until now that case remains unresolved and the public still left without any proper answers of how and why it happened.
Public offices appointed by the King are answerable to His Majesty and the Privy Council rather than the Minister and the Legislative Assembly. This will place the King under public criticism and scrutiny again; so must be able to answer to the public any concerns with the office of the Attorney General, the Judges, the Police Commissioner, and now the newly proposed power to appoint the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The alarms sounded by the Constitutional and Electoral Commission prior to the constitutional reforms of 2010 warned that it was of paramount importance to preserve the dignity of the office of the King, remote from the rough and tumble of disputation and strife. But if we are heading in this direction then it is highly likely the office of His Majesty will return to spotlight again.
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