Home National PM announces minor reshuffle, resignations as ‘Utoikamanu moves to Communication

PM announces minor reshuffle, resignations as ‘Utoikamanu moves to Communication


Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku has confirmed his resignation as Minister of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

King Tupou VI accepts a request for an audience from Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku and members of the Cabinet on the remote island of Niuafo’ou on March 7. This followed weeks of political turmoil in the kingdom after the King withdrew his confidence and consent to the appointment of two cabinet ministers. Image: Dr Viliami Latu

He also confirmed the resignation of Fekita ‘Utoikamanu as Minister of Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ‘Utoikamanu is now the new Minister of Tonga Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC)

They resigned on March 28, the Prime Minister told the Parliament this morning.

The two Ministries in question were vacant and the Prime Minister did not provide any detail about it.

The new Minister of Tourism was Dr Viliami Latu Uasike who was also the Minister of Economic Development and Trades.

The Prime Minister’s Office has announced a press conference for this afternoon, probably for the Prime Minister to elaborate further on the news.

The news comes after relations between the Prime Minister and the throne had  been tense since the king issued a memo saying he no longer supported Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku as the Minister for His Majesty’s Armed Forces and Hon. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Tourism.

The Prime Minister ignored the king’s memo.

As we reported earlier, the Nobles responded by demanding that the Prime Minister and Hon. Utoikamanu resign immediately in order to assuage King Tupou VI’s disappointment.

The Nobles circulated a letter which described the Prime Minister’s refusal to accept the King’s show of power as very concerning and intimidating the peace of the country.

Since 2010, when Tonga adopted its frail constitution, the kingdom has been a democracy, but one that has been constantly under threat as forces in the palace seeks to reassert their dominance over the country.

His Majesty King George V agreed to relinquish his executive to a government elected by the people.

Clause 51 (7) of the Constitution bars the king from making any interference in the daily operations of Cabinet, including nominating the Ministers for the king to appoint.