Petition for Pohiva’s dismissal

By: Netani Rika 

A PETITION has been distributed in Tonga to have Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva impeached and dismissed.

Pohiva confirmed this at the opening of the 5th Pacific Media Summit in Nuku’alofa today.

He said political opponents were behind the move which was supported by some members of the media.

“I have no problem with that,” Pohiva said.

“It is all part and parcel of democracy in the kingdom.”

A fierce advocate for human rights and media freedom from the 1980 until his election, Pohiva has recently been under intense pressure.

Pohiva’s appointment of his son in law and son to key positions and dismissal of journalists has come under criticism.

He has been accused of corruption and nepotism but survived an election after King Tupou VI dissolved parliament.

Pohiva confessed that as a journalist and advocate he had used the media to challenge the authorities and eventually become PM.

“I was critical of the government and now I’m getting a taste of my own medicine,” Pohiva said.

“I have no problem with that.”

Pohiva said journalists throughout the Pacific had a role to play in holding governments responsible to the electorate through strong reporting.

On recent dismissals of senior staff at the Tonga Broadcasting Corporation he said a review of the organisation was work in progress.