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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 6) - Hundreds of Tongans prayed aloud together with the King and Queen last night at the Teufaiva Outdoor Stadium in Nuku'alofa, asking God to have mercy on Tonga's political leaders, and to teach them to be honest and truthful, and to love the people.

The prayer for divine intervention and guidance of the Tongan leadership was broadcast live on the national Radio Tonga.

Reverend Dr Mohenoa Puloka of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga said that the prayer meeting was organized by the National Council of Churches, but other non-member churches such as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and the Tokaikolo Christian Fellowship also attended.

"To me it was a great success because people came together and not only prayed but called out loudly to God in a united voice," he said.

The tangible concern by the community over the country's political future follows the dismissal of three Cabinet Ministers by the Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, a week earlier.

It also followed an announcement last week by a television broadcaster making serious but as yet unproven allegations over the behavior and moral character of high government officials.

The prayer meeting was also attended by King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho.

Also attending the prayer meeting was the former Minister of Labour Dr Masasso Paunga, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Tu'a Taumoepeau Tupou and the Minister of Education Paula Bloomfield.

September 7, 2004

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