Tonga Prime Minister Dumps Minister Of Finance And National Planning

Eke asked to resign after abstaining from vote of no-confidence; No replacement yet named

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 6, 2017) – Tonga's Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr ‘Aisake Eke was fired yesterday, a Sunday, by Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

Hon. Dr ‘Aisake Eke resigned as Tonga’s Minister of Finance and National Planning this morning, 6 March 2017.

The Minister of Finance's sudden resignation was in response to a letter from the Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva asking him to present his letter of resignation before the Cabinet meeting at 9:00am this morning. The letter from the Prime Minister, dated 5 March was delivered to the Hon. Dr ‘Aisake Eke at his home yesterday while he was away attending a bible class of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.

The date on the letter raises questions as to whether or not the Prime Minister was aware of Clause 6 of the Tongan Constitution: "The Sabbath Day shall be kept holy in Tonga . . . any agreement made or witnessed on that day shall be null and void and of no legal effect."

Dr  Eke stated in his letter of resignation, the two specific reasons why the PM wanted him to resign were:

  1. Because he abstained from voting on the motion for the Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister. [The motion was rejected by 14-11, but Hon. ‘Aisake Eke was the only Cabinet Minister who did not vote against the Motion.]
  2. There were discrepancies in the past over issues that were essential for the running of the government.

With regards to why he abstained from voting on the Motion, Hon. ‘Aisake Eke said that he visited and discussed the reason why he abstained from voting with the PM in his office on 28 February, the day after the House rejected the motion.

He explained to the PM that he abstained from voting because some of the 17 allegations in the Motion were not true; particularly the allegations against a former Cabinet Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu, and the CEO of the Pacific Games Organizing Committee, Lord Feleti Sevele ‘o Vailahi.

The PM also informed him that some people had expressed their concern that Dr Eke abstained from voting, but apart from that there was no problem. At the same time the PM requested for information on the remains of the Popua Park Trust Fund.

With regards to "Reason No. 2" Dr Eke said that it surprised him because never before there was a case when he was asked to clarify his stance.

He is convinced that the PM introduced Reason No. 2 simply to force him to resign.

However, Dr ‘Aisake Eke thanked the Prime Minister from the bottom of his heart for the decision for him to resign. “Thanks for the treasure – koloa”.

The Prime Minister has yet to announce the name of his new Minister of Finance.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2017 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment