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Who does Tonga belong to?

Editor,

My fellow Tongans.

I am afraid that we will have to ask the most basic and fundamental of questions regarding this debate.

1.Is Tonga a property of the Monarch and the Royal family ?
2.Is it a property of the Nobles ?
3.Is it a property of all the Tongan people, including the Monarchy and the Nobility.

Well, I would like to think that all readers will choose item 3 but unfortunately some do disagree with this. Those who disagree are the Monarchy, the Nobility and a small number of lay Tongans who are close to both the above and are benefitting from the practices / corrupt or not, of the status quo.

If we choose to say that Tonga belongs to the People of Tonga including the monarchy and the nobility, then why the devil is the Royal family and especially Tupouto…’a is allowed to just do as they please with the nation, assets and all, Shoreline, Tonfon, Airlines, Tongasat, Passports etc, etc.
So what do we do ?

The main problem lies in the fact that the power and authority of parliament/government is held by the Monarchy supported by his nominated Ministers and the Nobility.

All power and authority must be vested in the people and nothing less.

If this is can be achieved peacefully and soon, our current problems will be mostly solved or pale into insignificance.

The current debate seems to be beating around the bush in discussing issues that seems periferal to the main event.

For instance, the problem with the Shoreline electricity supply. It should not have been taken over by Shoreline in the first place. But you know why it did? Because Tupouto…’a can just do what he wants! Now that he and Shoreline has totally mucked ( might have been a misspelling here) it up, they want to sell it back to the govt. at such an inflated price that makes people want to spew. Who is paying for all this mess? The people, yes you and me. I do not know about you but I don't like it one little bit.

Tonfon is another one, and many more. Everything that Tupouto…’a puts his hands on seems to go haywire. He uses his royal status to unfairly influence his business dealings to his own individual advantages and not for the public good. Unfortunately he does this with the public utilities which are national assets and are essential services to the community.

It is good to attack and put out little fires here and there, but let us not forget where the main inferno is.

The whole thing is a shomozzal/joke because the power and authority is in the hands of the King and his son.

This is what we need to change or we will be just whistling in the wind. Forever complaining but nothing will ever change. Tupouto…’a will continue to do as he pleases because the system allows him to do so.

There are many many examples of abuse of power by the Royal family. The issue of the passport scandal where the royal jester/fool duped the King. Now we all know who the real …‘fool…’ was. The jester could not believe his luck at how easy money could be made. Of course, the King cannot be wrong, so two of his Ministers had to be sacked. Other Ministers followed as things began hot up in other areas.

The Monarchy/govt. reaction to the Democracy Movement agitation for change was to increase the numbers in Parliament from 7+7+7 to 9+9+9 and that the King will nominate a Minister from the People…’s rep. hence the Dr. Sevele…’s nomination and elevation to PM.

Who are they trying to fool here ?

We can increase the numbers to 30 Ministers, 30 Nobles and 30 Peoples or whatever. The proportion will still be the same. And nothing will have changed. We are just skipping on the spot.

Some say that we have come a long way in that Dr Sevele, a people…’s rep. and commoner has been selected by HM to be one of the Ministers and eventually PM.

Big deal …… the King still had the final say.

This is wrong.

In my posting here on 28/3/06 I suggested a way out to all this, where the people will elect all MPs (27) inclusive of any Nobles who might have wanted to participate.

The King will no longer select his Ministers but will only endorse those that the PM has selected from the elected MPs.

Sefita Hao…’uli reminded some readers who did not appear to have gotten the point that the Nobility are allowed to participate in any election if they wished, as their private previledged election methodology will be scrapped.

I noted that ” 'Ofa ki Tonga” appeared to have been troubled by how the MPs will be able to elect a leader to be PM. He seemed to have missed the point here and that is, the transfer of power from the current heirarchy to the People. He also seemed to have some trouble with people without any formal qualifications being elected to parliament ?

The essence of a parliamentary election is to elect our reps from whoever would want to stand. All people have the same rights of candidature, whether you have a PhD, MA, BA or sweet FA.

If we can wrench the power from the hands of the Monarchy, then the likes of Tupouto'a will not be able to do as he pleases. The two Indian princes will be no more, Tongasat will be returned to the people, the duty free shopping license will be up for competitive tender and and so on. Shoreline included.

My friends, the biggest problem here is that Tupouto.'a as chair of Shoreline does not care what conflict of interest means!!!

He is not accountable to anyone.

He owns both Shoreline and the Government. I can't put it any plainer than this.

Why should he care? He has got it covered both ways. Heads, Tupouto'a wins; tails we loose.

He will always win because the system is built that way.

The only way to fix this problem is to remove the power from the Monarchy and give it to the People.

No need to shoot the tiger, just pull out his teeth.

Let us focus on the big picture, the main event.

If we can get the main structural elements correctly in place first then the rest will be relative easy to achieve.

As the current structure is wrong, the system is proned to corruption and abuse.

And unfortunately that is exactly what is happening at the moment.

I read with interest comments from Mele Payne Lynch and Jason Faletau.

Till next time

Kind Regards

Sione Tapani Mangisi