Tonga’s nobles are collectively calling on the Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni to resign his defence portfolio as Minister of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, and to respect the decision of King Tupou VI, who has withdrawn his consent to three ministerial appointments.

The Nobles’ Representatives told parliament Thursday that the PM’s response (a refusal) to the King had stirred concern about peace in the country.

In a letter signed by Lord Tu’ivakano, the nine Nobles’ Representatives also called on Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu to resign from her two ministerial portfolios. The Nobles were unhappy that the Cabinet had not paid heed to the King’s wishes, as conveyed from the Privy Council to Cabinet on 02 February.

For the last month, nothing had happened and they warned the PM that to correct the King was “dangerous”.

“You should go to the Niuas and talk to the King!” said Tu’ivakano. “So this is would all be solved if you went and talked to HM. My request to Government is to do something because there is a lot to be done.”

In the letter dated 26 February, the Nobles told the Prime Minister: “There was a meeting of us the representatives of the Nobles to Parliament on 23 February 2024, and we confirm that the response by yourself and your Government, and that nothing was done with the [Privy Council Decision] 17/2024, it stirred concern and it sparked Va‘etu‘ua – concern about peace in the country.

“We, the Nobles, are the ‘aofivala, protective of His Majesty, therefore, we propose to you and your government to respect the decision of His Majesty. He has removed his trust, and is no longer in favour of [the PM’s] appointment as a Minister of His Majesty’s Army, and the same with Hon. Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and [Minister of] Tourism.

“We advise you at this moment to resign from the position as the Minister for His Majesty’s Armed Forces, and the same with Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu to resign from her post as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.”
The letter called on the Prime Minister to respond within one day.

The Prime Minister was tearful in his response to the Nobles’ letter when it was raised in the House Thursday.

He told the House that there had been an exchange of letters between Cabinet and the Palace, and he was sorry if it appeared to be disrespectful.

“It is part of my life, there was no disrespect to His Majesty, … My apology, I love our King. …The Palace, the ‘Afio is my life.”

Lord Tu’ivakano replied that peace is based upon who is in the House. He said the PM and the King are at the top. One looks after the government and one looks after the country.

“His Majesty is angry. Our letter to the Prime Minister was because we felt that we are not fulfilling our responsibility in the House. Now, it is the last day of the month and time for you two to resign from Defence and Foreign Affairs and Tourism.”

He said it appeared there was no willingness “to my request to government to do something to keep us in peace.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that King Tupou VI is currently travelling in the Niuas, in the remote far north of Tonga.