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Backstabbing backfires

Kolofo'ou, Tonga

The last few weeks have been filled with unjustified media attacks on the Shoreline Power Company, the sole producer and distributor of electricity in the Kingdom. The heavy artillery for the ongoing misleading assault was provided by the former Minister of Police who also signed the agreement that transferred the operations of the Tonga Electric Power Board to Shoreline, while he was in government.

But if the former Minister hoped to reap some rewards from his pains, then he surely had made a monumental miscalculation. For every revelation and accusation that he brings forth against his former colleagues and employer only draws scorn and ridicule from an understandably skeptical and suspicious public. Other candidates have been particularly scathing and devastating in their responses to the Minister's pronouncements, questioning his motives, timing and sincerity in claiming to have the people'’s interests at heart.

It is still early days yet in the campaign, and whilst the former Minister'’s candidacy may not be quite dead upon arrival, it is certainly in need of some serious life support system. He needs to overcome a yawning credibility gap, and to give a compelling rationale as to why we should elect him to parliament.

It is a gap not likely to be anywhere closed in the remaining weeks of the campaign, and it is hard to understand how a rehash of his previous forgettable aborted political campaign can now find traction in the collective electoral mind.

This is case of the messenger is the message. And while other candidates have happily exploited strands of his confusing message, the messenger himself seems to have been condemned to serve time in the political wilderness, forever associated in the court of public opinion with inconsistency, political expediency and ultimately, irrelevance.

Faka'apa'apa atu

Sitiveni Finau

Kolofo'ou, Tongatapu.