Unsuccessful premiership contender Tu‘i‘onetoa expresses bitterness at being abandoned


Tonga interim Prime Minster Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has complained about being dumped by his own interim Cabinet Ministers, saying he just found out after the general elections that their unity in the past four months was fake.

Tu’i’onetoa said their union was heart-warming and they worked side by side.

He described the basis of their unity as a pledge and sacred oath “fuakava toputapu” with the people.

Tu’i’onetoa said he trusted the situation and they had looked forward together with the nobility to welcome the new MPs.

“Unfortunately, it never happened, as after the general elections on 18 November some of the Cabinet Ministers left with their plan to form the new government on their own,” Tu’i’onetoa said in Tongan in a post on Facebook.

He said the Tongan saying was true – “Kehe lea he hifo’ mei he lea he hake” which can be translated into English as two faced people.

He confirmed that he has supported premiership candidate Dr ‘Aisake Eke. He said he wanted to hand over the work he had started during the past two years to Dr Eke and train him for it.

The Interim Prime Minister then launched a stinging attack against the PTOA Party and its three MPs who supported premiership candidate Siaosi Sovaleni.

The former PTOA MP and Cabinet Minister said any ministerial posts for the PTOA MPs should be given to the nobility MPs.

He falsely accused the PTOA of plotting to create a government without the involvement of the nobility. He never gave any evidence to support his claim.

He also reiterated his ongoing misleading attacks against the Democrats to make them sound like they were trying the dethrone the king. He referred to the raft of six Bills pushed by the late ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s government in Parliament to support his claims.

Former Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu previously advised the public during consultations on the Bills there was no such agenda.

Apart from failing to provide any concrete evidence to support his claims Tu’i’onetoa was the Minister of Finance under the ‘Akilisi government when the Bills were re-submitted to Parliament in February 2019 after they were first introduced into the Legislative Assembly by Lord Tu’ivakano’s government in 2014.

He supported the Bills when they were debated in Parliament. He also raised his hand in support of a majority vote in Parliament when the Speaker placed the Bills on the ballot to be taken for public consultations, according to Hansard of 11 March, 2019.

When Tu’i’onetoa took over as Prime Minister after ‘Aklilisi’s death, he told Kaniva News that he had put aside the six Bills because “his government did not have enough time to do it”.

In a video clip seen by Kaniva News during the lead-up to the 18 November election, Tu’i’onetoa said he had left the PTOA Party because of their alleged plans to dethrone the king with the six Bills. This was untrue.

The real reason why he left PTOA, was that he was disappointed in what he described in a previous interview with Kaniva as some in the PTOA Party attempting to challenge the plans ‘Akilisi left for the party’s leadership.

However, some critics believe Tu’i’onetoa left the PTOA after he had talked with the Nobles about forming his own government.

Tu’i’onetoa, who has been accused of repeated misleading the public and the media, has faced a public backlash from the Democrats on Facebook.

“You are full of crap,” a commenter responded to Tu’i’onetoa’s post.

“He is behaving like a woman,” another wrote.

“Karma. This was what you did for the PTOA you betrayed the Party and what goes around comes around,” one wrote in Tongan.

“You are dead.”

Some supporters of Tu’i’onetoa came to his defence and said he had done a good job while he was Prime Minister.