Tonga’s “de facto” new government of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, who masterminded the hijacking of the majority ballots cast by voters on November 27, 2014 general elections, is basking delightfully in power today. Thanks to the local media’s adoration of this political “sophism” where they were too busy promoting Mr. Pōhiva and his PTOA party instead of vetting him and his cronies.
In my final news article (Kuo Lava: “Palēmia ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, ‘Ofa’anga ‘o e Mītiá”) published 22 January, 2015 in the old government’s “Tonga Weekly,” and censored by the new government, it cited the importance of analyzing certified statistics from the Tonga Commission of Elections between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM of November 27, 2014.
The article emphasizes the integrity of the raw data for statistics collected on that day. Unfortunately, the English translation fell victim to the new government Censorship Committee’s razor blades. They replaced it with a front-page propaganda claiming it was “Too Early for Criticism” of the new PM’s government on the nepotism fiasco: the hiring of the PM’s own son to be the PM’s Personal Assistant.
Mr. Pōhiva’s “Sophism” Con Game
If I was born 28 years ago or later – when Mr. Pōhiva first entered Parliament and became the major government critic– I could be fooled. I recall him claiming the high “moral” grounds of being the so-called “watchdog” of government.
However, his “pro-democracy” group’s “failed coup d’édat” torched Nuku’alofa in 2006, according to anthropologist Niko Besnier (2011). Historian Ian C. Campbell (2009) recorded it as an unnecessary vengeful arsonist act, and robbery since they did not address an “injustice” or a legitimate “democratic” failure. Government had already begun addressing democratic changes led by HM King George Tupou V.
This seems to be the work of political “sophism.” I don’t know of anytime when it was too early for Mr. Pōhiva to criticize former governments in the last 28 years. Why then is it too early for anyone else to criticize his current government? This is not a democracy; this is authoritarian statism.
At the close of the November 27, 2014 General Elections, Independent candidates had won nine (9) seats; the Lords College is allowed nine (9) seats, and the PTOA was the minority party with just eight (8) seats. This was a major defeat for the PTOA party, which had won 12 seats in the 1010 elections.
PTOA’s Double Dipping Act
Had the PTOA party won 14 seats they would have formed a government immediately. But being on the losing end on the afternoon of November 27th, Mr. Pōhiva’s PTOA party double-dipped by advancing a bogus political maneuver to claim that Independent Representatives have switched parties early on November 28th. In a legitimate “de jure” democratic election, the minority party does not get a second chance by re-assigning people’s votes; the people have spoken on November 27th, 2014.
Tonga’s current election experiment, however, does allow the PTOA party to “double-dip,” and ends up in the Prime Minister’s Office. And Mr. Pōhiva calculated this con game by forging a party system in Tonga’s elections process with the help of his adoring Tongan media.
Mr. Pōhiva realized they’ve lost the election, and quickly placed a bogus claim with the media early on November 28, 2014 to Independent Sione Vuna Fā’otusia’s (Tongatapu #7) seat. But Mr. Fā’otusia – who later voted with six (6) other Independents for Mr. Pōhiva to become PM, and now the Minister of Law – contradicted the Prime Minister’s claim in my presence along with six (6) other witnesses at the Royal Nuku’alofa Club a few days later.
These “sophisticated” Tongan politicians seem to lie to the public habitually, taking us for granted as their “useful idiots.” And the local media are promoting it.
Sione A. Mokofisi – MBA
Director: English, Journalism & Languages Department
Tonga International Academy, Havelu, Tongatapu