Democratic Party meeting uproar as Pohiva’s son-in-law asks government to withdraw CEDAW ratification

The Democratic Party has rejected a call by Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s son-in-law for the government to withdraw its move to ratify CEDAW.

MP Mateni Tapueluelu insisted the government change its decision to sign up to the Convention on Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Tapueluelu’s call left a recent party meeting in uproar.

In a series of references to certain CEDAW clauses published in the Prime Minister’s newspaper, Kele’a, last week, Tapueluelu made assumptions about what he believed was the chance that ratifying the convention would “push” member countries to legalise abortion and same-sex marriage.

Tapueluelu said he “earnestly begged” the party meeting to review its decision to sign CEDAW and return it for more public consultation.

He said people did not understand  CEDAW.

Tapueluelu said he had worked as an editor for three newspapers for 14 years and did not understood what CEDAW was about.

He said that if he did not understood the convention, then he questioned how the public could understand it.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva told Kaniva News his cabinet believed CEDAW was good for Tonga and had determined to ratify the United Nations convention based on advice from stakeholders.

Tapueluelu persuaded his followers to believe the convention was designed to push the legalisation of abortion by claiming there were new born babies found dismembered in US. It was not clear why he referred to US as the country has yet to ratify CEDAW.

Tapueluelu said if government continued on with its move to ratify the convention the motive was clear –  it was not for the moral advantages of the country but it was for money.

Tapueluelu was so emotional and at times made some references to the Bible to justify his claims.

At the end of his story he quoted part of the the Lord’s Prayer that says:

“Your kingdom come

“Your will be done on earth

“As it is in heaven”.

Agree to stand and believe together as one

In its campaign for the 2010 and 2014 general elections, the Democrats issued a memorandum of understanding (MOU)  that consisted of a mission and a vision for all party members to  follow.

The Party announced that all its members signed the MOU before 2014 general election.

One clause in the official document said all party MPs must “stand together” and “believe” together as one.

Kaniva News could not contact Prime Minister Pohiva to obtain his opinion about his son-in-law’s stance on CEDAW.

Three members of the Party were ousted last year after Tapueluelu, the  editor of Kele’a,  repeatedly described them as heke (crossing the floor) and no longer loyal to the party leader Hon. Pohiva.

He ran articles in Kele’a suggesting that Party MP Dr Sitiveni Halapua was no longer loyal to Hon. Pohiva as he had introduced a new model of his own for the democratic change Pohiva had fought for for years.

Hon. Pohiva’s publicly announced that Halapua’s model was good in itself, but that it should be campaigned for outside the party, because the Democrats had their own mission to have all members of Parliament elected by the people.

Dr Halapua eventually announced that he would not stood for Parliament.

Before last year’s general election, ousted Deputy Party Leader Isileli Pulu accused Tapueluelu of interfering with the party’s candidate list and pushing Hon. Pohiva to endorse the list without the party’s endorsement.

Pulu claimed the list that Hon. Pohiva endorsed was made up by Tapueluelu and published it in Kele’a before the Party knew about it.

After a series of exchanges between Tapueluelu and Pulu with other ousted Party MPs including Sione Taione and Falisi Tupou, Hon. Pohiva announced that he has fired them from the Party and he named new candidates to replace them. Tapueluelu then replaced Pulu.

When asked why he sacked them, Hon. Pohiva said it was because they continue to protest about the controversial party list.

The main points

  • The Democratic Party has rejected a call by Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s son-in-law for the government to withdraw its ratification of CEDAW.
  • MP Mateni Tapueluelu insisted the government change its decision to sign up to the Convention on Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
  • His call left a recent party meeting in uproar.
  • Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva told Kaniva News his cabinet believed CEDAW was good for Tonga and had determined to ratify the United Nations convention based on advice from stakeholders.

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