I wish the people of Wanganui the best of luck for they have elected Michael Laws as their leader, a man who makes great pronouncements out of ignorance. His comparison of our late King to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe clearly shows that he does not know what he is talking about.
We call such people in our society empty-headed and silly. Perhaps in Laws' case it was a carry over from his role as a leader in the reality TV show Treasure Island.
I wish to advise Michael Laws to do a bit of research on the matter. For a start I would like to refer him to Dr Guy Powels' paper presented to the Convention on the Constitution and Democracy in Tonga in 1992, in which he stated that "the problem of those who wish to bring about change in Tonga is that the Monarch has governed with a relatively benign and gentle hand"
For Mr. Laws' information, Professor Powles was teaching law at Monash University, Australia, at the time of the convention. He studied the legal and political systems of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and did his doctorate at the Australian National University. He has written books and papers on Pacific courts and legal systems and has held consultancies and judicial posts in several Pacific Island countries
If the honorable Mayor were to heed my advice and go beyond all the media hype, he would find that King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV was not a dictator. Although he had latent power for absolute rule under our Constitution, he had always endeavored to operate under the rule of law. As a consequence the Tongan people did and still love him deeply and are mourning their great loss. The sun has indeed set in Tonga.
As I understand it Mayor Laws wants to run his turf under direct democracy. Well if that is the case then the people of Wanganui need much more than our good wishes, they need our prayers. The wise leader must still be on his beautiful Treasure Island. Unfortunately most people who advocate direct democracy simply hate kings, for whatever reason I have no idea.
oli_fukofuka [at] yahoo [dot] com