Royal ‘could’ be minister
13 March, 2018, 12:00 am
A member of the royal family could become Tonga’s new Minister of His Majesty’s Armed Forces and Lands and Survey.
The Minister of Police, Mateni Tapueluelu told Kaniva News: “What I only know is that there is an attempt to get one of the royal children so that the king would know everything that is being discussed in Cabinet and that he could be ‘confident’ as he would know about it. But who in the royal children, I don’t know and we all leave it to PM to do that,” Mr Tapueluelu said.
The king has three children, of whom Princess Latufipeka Mata’aho Jr Tuku’aho, 34, is the eldest.
The second is Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, 32, and the youngest is Prince Ata, 30.
The Princess is currently Tonga’s High Commissioner to Australia.
She recently visited Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva in hospital.
The Prime Minister told Kaniva News he felt humble to have Her Royal Highness visiting him.
The ministerial posts became vacant after Lord Ma’afu resigned last month, citing lack of co-operation with Mr Pohiva.
Mr Pohiva, who is a blood relation of Lord Ma’afu, said he selected the noble to help him in steering the government after the election in 2014 and again in 2017.
“Sadly, it is obvious that we disagree on a number of things.”
The two ministerial posts were of special importance to Phiva because of their link to the king and the nobles.
He said the nobles owned a great deal of land while the king was the Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Phiva said he did not want the king and the nobles to be worried if one of his party members became Ministers and controlled these miniseries.
The attempt to make one of the royal children a Minister could be interpreted to mean that Phiva no longer trusts members of the nobility after Lord Ma’afu’s resignation.
This would also mean there was no chance for his party members, MP Vtau Hui for Niua 16 and Tongatapu 5 MP Losaline M’asi to be given a ministerial post.
Meanwhile, the governor for Ha’apai, Party Member Mo’ale Fnau has announced on Facebookthat his tenure has ended.
He said the government was looking for a new governor for Ha’apai.
The move to show that cabinet has nothing to hide from His Majesty was echoed in a statement by the Minister of Justice Vuna Fa’otusia last year.
F’otusia said the government proposed to amend the constitution so that Cabinet members became members of the Privy Council.
He said this would allow the ministers to talk and discuss directly with the king any laws or any amendments to the constitution right from the beginning to the end before the king chose to sign it or not.
He said it was a good idea to get the king involved in the process right from the start so he could really understand why MPs wanted to make or amend those laws.
It is understood this was one of the proposals that concerned former Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakan who advised the king to dissolve Parliament last year