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OPINION – That critical vote

Tongan PM Hon Pohiva


NUKU’ALOFA-February 3: 6.06pm (NUKU’ALOFA TIMES): The Members of Parliament here will exercise their right to either vote out Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva or vote to keep him when the motion for the vote of no confidence is put to the table.

Having had so much media attention late last year, the vote did not eventuate.

Now we have been told that the motion has been tabled, with supporting documents to go with that.

Hon Pohiva has been at the helm of Government since early 2015, after leading his Democratic Party to winning a fair number of seats at the 2014 General Elections.

With the Independents backing him, he was elected PM – a position he has been trying for over 25 years to win.

That vote of confidence by his Party members and the Independents gave him the chance to take the lead role in Government.

But it has been a rule that has not gone too well, with a lot of controversies along the way.

From appointing his own son as his helper, citing health issues, to giving his son and a close friend $250,000 each in consultation fees to pushing the CEDAW issue through without proper consultation, PM Pohiva has virtually fried himself to the point of being overcooked.

Many believe he has lost his touch and appeal and has contradicted himself along the way, with some of his decisions.

His interruptions in the preparation for the 2019 Pacific Games have been well documented.

His push to change the marking system for exams here received the biggest flak to date.

Some have questioned his push for the law to be sideline while he wants his own plans executed, saying that the law slows down implementation of work plans.

Lord Vaea first talked about the vote of no confidence last year, while in New Zealand with the Prime Minister.

This will be a big test of all sorts.

The Nobles will be keenly trying to see how they can win back government. They have Samiu Vaipulu, of the Independents backing them.

It will be interesting to see how the others vote.

And the voting should be done in a transparent manner – by a show of hands – so that everyone can know who is voting for and against.

Just like when they voted who the PM should be.

Last year the change was made – with the excuse that the show of hands was not professional as some MPs would be persuaded to  vote for when they wanted to vote against. Or vice versa.

Interesting days are ahead indeed!


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