PTOA Core Team should sort out its own problems before trying to take Democrat name from Global group

Kaniva News Editorial

The PTOA Core Team MPs’ attempt to take the PTOA name away from the Democrat’s Global movement is wrong.

PTOA for life banner. Photo/Kalino Lātū (Kaniva Tonga News)

Its warning to its followers about inducing voters is equally at fault.

The Core Team has argued that its opposition to the Global Movement’s activities is based on  the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s teaching that the nation could not be built with offering freebies and money.

The team said ‘Akilisi taught that: “The will of the people could not be bought using goods or money. The will of the people can only be influenced by enlightenment and knowledge.”

Global vs Core Team 

The Core Team believe that what the Global Movement did went against the late Prime Minister’s teaching. The Global Movement has regularly launched attacks against the Core Team since they kept silent after a meeting that supposed to decide the fate of MP Mateni Tapueluelu. The Democrats were looking forward to the Core Team making a decision and announcing the results to the public, but they did not.

This has divided the PTOA’s movements, with PTOA International supporting the Core Team against the Global Movement. The two Movements went to war on Facebook with some of their leaders using strong and offensive language.

Akilisi’s teachings

‘Akilisi, a former teacher and lecturer at the Tonga Teachers’ Training College did a great job to teach people of Tonga to know about their right to make decisions about how to use their tax money.

He also taught people about the democratic system and after many years of struggle turned Tonga into a democratic system

‘Akilisi did not support buying voter’s support in any form, but he did not reject doing things to help the poor, including building houses or project which involved millions of pa’anga.

‘Akilisi also appreciated people who donated for his political cause. The best example is MP Semisi Sika and his family and their business. They were one of ‘Akilisi’s big financial supporters and this was one of the reasons why ‘Akilisi chose him to become his replacement before he died.

Wrong track

The Core Team appear to be on the wrong track because the Global Movement was an independent body and they help people using their own money. Not only that but also, politics and democracy are all about money and the people. It’s all about politicians trying to please voters with what they can do for them with their tax money. If there is no money no one will want to take part in politics, especially MPs. Politicians want to go to Parliament and form the government so they can allocate and distribute people’s tax money.

They must create policies to show people what their thinking has been in the way they allocated their tax money. People choose politicians according to policies and how they can be funded using their tax money.

Not only that, politicians are allowed to help and donate for the people in whatever forms as long as the assistance falls within the law, especially when it comes to elections.

‘Akilisi donates for Popua Park

Even ‘Akilisi donated money to poor by building them something to raise their standard of living.

He donated thousands of pa’anga for the Popua National Park. It was a project he initiated and which was later subsidised by the government. He said in an interview with Kaniva News he wanted to beautify that particular place, not just for the people living in Popua and nearby villages, but for the whole of Tonga.

He also said he was saving money to build the same community park at his Tongatapu 1 constituency in Sopu ‘o Taufa’ahau.

Kele’a paper sponsorships

Many people sponsored ‘Akilisi’s Kele’a paper and helped pay his court fines, including Dr Feleti Sevele, former Ministry of Education Director Paula Bloomfield and many others. Sevele was once ‘Akilisi’s  best friend,  but later fell out with him over political differences.

‘Akilisi also was the main sponsor of his Kele’a newspaper since 1986. He told Kaniva News his paper was the main platform for his political campaign. His son Siaosi Pohiva also said in an interview with Kaniva Tonga that whatever money his father got he saved for Kele’a and for his political works.

‘Akilisi also spent about more than TP$1 million paying court fines as well as his paper’s court fines. He always said this was the pathway that a person who wanted to sacrifice because of the people who were suppressed must follow.


The Core Team’s announcement on local radio that Global Movement was no longer recognised because its housing and helping the poor policies were attempts to buy votes was embarrassing.

The announcement also appeared to be personal, rather than based on anything concrete, rather than any breach of the electoral laws. If any such breach was suspected it should have been reported to the Electoral Commission to investigate and determine what the case was.

The PTOA Core Team should support any group which supports the people under the PTOA banner. It should recognise the huge level of support for PTOA Global in the US, New Zealand and Australia.

The worst thing is that the PTOA Core Team did not register  its name and has no constitution. Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and his supporters have always mocked them for this, saying they cannot talk with a body which was not legalised in Tonga.

Perhaps the Core Team should sort itself out before it criticises PTOA Global. If it does not, then Hon. Tu’i’onetoa will keep laughing at them and they will have little hope of returning to power.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

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