It is time for the late ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s followers to stand up and put his principles into practice, a leading figure in the overseas Democratic movement said yesterday.

The president of the PTOA Auckland Aotearoa chapter, Vainikolo Tāufa told Kaniva News the former Prime Minister had preached and educated the Tongan people about the principles of democracy.

Since his death on September 12, 2019, Democrat party (PTOA) chapters have been formed in several countries  by Tongans living overseas.

There are about six big chapters in New Zealand alone, and more in Australia and the United States.

The one in the US, known as PTOA Global Movement played a major role in designing the Movement’s policies.

The overseas chapters have launched a Housing for the Poor scheme.

Taufa told Kaniva News two new houses were launched in Tonga last week, one in Veitongo and one in Holeva, Vava’u.

They were funded by the PTOA Global Movement in collaboration with PTOA Auckland Aotearoa and some chapters in New Zealand and Australia.

Taufa, a carpenter who runs his own construction business in New Zealand said he had designed a new two-bedroom housing plan with an estimate of NZ$12,000 including labour and shipment of the building materials to Tonga, as part of the Movement’s housing scheme.

They were in contact now with a family in Hoi, in Tongatapu to complete a house the family built for themselves but was left incomplete.

“Our critics said what we are doing was in opposition to what ‘Akilisi did. ‘Akilisi only preached the advantages of democracy and he did not give out money or food or built houses for the poor,” Taufa said.

“’Akilisi did not give food to the poor or voters because he did not want to be seen as a politician who bought voters’ votes.

“‘Akilisi had a mission to free the commoners politically from the rule of the king alone.

“He fought to change Tonga’s political system into democracy, a system he believed could allow fair distribution of the country’s wealth and economy.

“The housing is part of our attempt to put ‘Akilisi’s mission into practice.

“‘Akilisi has died but his work and push to bring democracy to Tonga flourished and lives on.”