The plot is getting thicker. It is now confirmed that prior to Prime Minister Pōhiva’s letter of publicly lashing Acting Attorney General ‘Āminiasi Kefu on the Tu’ilakepa vs. Crown case, a more sinister act of illegal activities took place.
The Prime Minister summoned Mr. Kefu to the PMO with instructions (directives) on how to handle the Tu’ilakepa vs. Crown case. As I discussed in Part I, the “separation of powers” between the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, and the Legislative Branch for that matter, is a key principle in our Constitutional Monarchy democracy.
They must maintain their independence as equal partners in our Three Branch of Government democracy. The Legislative Assemble makes laws; the Executive executes those laws, and the Judiciary interprets (or review) those laws for conformity with the Constitution.
It protects people’s constitutional rights from a domineering Executive Branch, which wants to grow powerfully unchallenged as a tyrant. Tyranny is a ruler, or group of people, who want all the powers regardless of the rule of law. In fact the new Tongan Government Executive branch holds itself above the law in many cases, fledging its wings mainly to reward their PTOA cronies.
People’s Rights to an Impartial Judiciary
The separation of powers guarantees our rights to be judged by an impartial judicial branch. The judges must independently seek “justice” without fear of repercussions from the Executive and Legislative branches. Judges must not be subjected to undue pressure and public ridicule in the exercise of their legal duties.
Prime Minister Pōhiva applied undue pressures on Mr. Kefu, both prior and after the Tu’iielakepa vs. Crown case. First the PM laid down the rule how to handle the case, and then lashed out at Mr. Kefu in the public square when Mr. Pōhiva did not agree with the verdicts reached in the case.
Mr. Tu’ilakepa deserved his day in court as a private citizen. Mr. Kefu used prudence judgment according to his profession training and moral values. The Prime Minister misused his Executive Power to cross the separation of powers boundaries laid out by our Constitution.
These are egregious acts of lawlessness we must not tolerate.
Sione A. Mokofisi
Director: English, Journalism & Languages
Tonga International Academy