Cabinet of Tonga

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The Cabinet of Tonga is the cabinet (executive branch) of the government of the Kingdom of Tonga. It is composed primarily of the ministers of government. The latter, including the Prime Minister, are appointed by the monarch. The Governor of Ha'apai and the Governor of Vava'u also serve on the Cabinet ex officio. When in session and presided over by the monarch, the Cabinet is known as the Privy Council.[1]

Current Cabinet[edit]

The current Cabinet results from the November 2010 general election, the first enabling ordinary citizens to elect a majority of Members of Parliament, and the first also enabling Parliament to elect the Prime Minister. After being elected Prime Minister by Parliament, Lord Tuʻivakanō appointed the following as his Cabinet. His decision to appoint Dr. Ana Taufeʻulungaki and Clive Edwards, who were not Members of Parliament, was met with some controversy, but Tuʻivakanō defended his choice on the grounds of their experience. It also meant that the Ministry for Women's Affairs would be headed by a woman; as all members of the legislature were men, appointing a Member of Parliament to the position would have meant it being held by a man.[2]

The Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands, which had won twelve of the seventeen seats allotted to people's representatives in the Assembly, requested six seats in Cabinet, but was awarded only two, generating some disagreements within the party itself. Senior party MPs ʻAkilisi Pohiva and ʻIsileli Pulu nevertheless accepted the proposed Cabinet positions.[3][4]

Lord Tuʻivakanō's first Cabinet, announced at the beginning of January 2011, was thus the following.[5] On 13 January, however, newly appointed Health Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva (People's representative for Tongatapu 1) resigned, in protest over his party having only two Cabinet positions, and refusing to be bound by collective Cabinet responsibility.[6][7][8] He was replaced by ʻUliti Uata (DPFI, People's Representative for Haʻapai 13) on 25 January.[9]

Portfolio Minister Constituency Party
Prime Minister,
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Minister for Defence,
Minister for Information and Communication
Lord Tuʻivakanō Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister for Justice,
Minister for Transport and Works
Samiu Kuita Vaipulu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 15
Independent
Minister for Lands, Survey, Natural Resources
and Environment and Climate Change
Lord Maʻafu Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries Lord Vaea Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Finance Sunia Manu Fili People's representative
for ʻEua 11
Independent
Minister for Training, Employment, Youth and Sports Feʻaomoeata Vakata People's representative
for Niuas 17
Independent
Minister for Police, Prisons and Fire Services Viliami Latu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 16
Independent
Minister for Labour, Commerce and Industries Lisiate ʻAloveita ʻAkolo People's representative
for Vavaʻu 14
Independent
Minister for Health ʻAkilisi Pohiva People's representative
for Tongatapu 1
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands
Minister for Tourism ʻIsileli Pulu People's representative
for Tongatapu 4
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands
Minister for Revenue Services and Public Enterprises Wiliam Clive Edwards not in Parliament People's Democratic Party
Minister for Education, Women Affairs and Culture Dr. ʻAna Maui Taufeʻulungaki not in Parliament None

On September 1, 2011, following a reshuffle which switched portfolios around without adding any new minister nor removing any, the Cabinet was as follows:[10]

Portfolio Minister Constituency Party
Prime Minister,
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Minister for Defence,
Minister for Information and Communication
Lord Tuʻivakanō Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister for Transport and Works
Samiu Kuita Vaipulu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 15
Independent
Minister for Lands, Survey, Natural Resources
and Environment and Climate Change
Lord Maʻafu Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries Lord Vaea Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Finance and Inland Revenue Sunia Manu Fili People's representative
for ʻEua 11
Independent
Minister for Training, Employment, Youth and Sports Feʻaomoeata Vakata People's representative
for Niuas 17
Independent
Minister for Tourism Viliami Latu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 16
Independent
Minister for Police, Prisons and Fire Services Lisiate ʻAloveita ʻAkolo People's representative
for Vavaʻu 14
Independent
Minister for Health ʻUliti Uata People's representative
for Haʻapai 13
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands
Minister for Labour, Commerce and Industries ʻIsileli Pulu People's representative
for Tongatapu 4
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands
Minister for Justice;
Minister for Public Enterprises
Wiliam Clive Edwards not in Parliament People's Democratic Party
Minister for Education, Women Affairs and Culture Dr. ʻAna Maui Taufeʻulungaki not in Parliament None

In mid-April 2012, another reshuffle was announced, to be effective from 1 May. Lisiate ʻAkolo, the Minister for Police, was to become Minister for Finance and National Planning. Sunia Fili, the Minister for Finance and Revenue, was to take over the Police, Prisons & Fire Services portfolio; Sosefo Vakata, Minister for Training, Employment, Youth and Sports, would become Minister for Revenue. Lord Vaea, in addition to retaining his Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries portfolio, would take over Vakata's erstwhile ministry.[11][12] The reshuffle was implemented on 1 May.[13]

In late June, three ministers (ʻIsileli Pulu (Labour), Sunia Fili (Police) and ʻUliti Uata (Health)) resigned, so as to support a motion of no confidence tabled by their party (DPFI) against the government.[14] On 1 July, Sangster Saulala broke ranks with the DPFI to join the government, but resigned and rejoined the opposition the next day.[15] On 5 July, Lord Tuʻiʻafitu was appointed Minister for Health. The other vacated portfolios remained vacant; Matangi Tonga pointed out that "the selection is difficult because of the very few friendly members of parliament left to choose from", as the (delayed) motion of no confidence loomed.[16] On 13 July, Saulala joined the government once more, as Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food. He argued that, although he was breaking ranks with his own party, it was the wish of his constituents.[15]

No further announcement was made until 7 January 2013, when Lord Tuʻivakanō announced the following Cabinet:[17]

Portfolio Minister Constituency Party
Prime Minister,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Minister for Defence,
Minister for Information and Communication,
Acting Minister for Police, Fire Services and Prisons
Lord Tuʻivakanō Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister for Infrastructure
Samiu Kuita Vaipulu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 15
Independent
Minister for Lands, Environment,
Climate Change and Natural Resources
Lord Maʻafu Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Education and Training Dr. ʻAna Maui Taufeʻulungaki not in Parliament None
Minister for Health Lord Tuʻiʻafitu Nobles' representative
for Vavaʻu
None
Minister for Finance and National Planning Lisiate ʻAloveita ʻAkolo People's representative
for Vavaʻu 14
Independent
Minister for Commerce and Tourism Viliami Latu People's representative
for Vavaʻu 16
Independent
Minister for Internal Affairs Lord Vaea Nobles' representative
for Tongatapu
None
Minister for Justice;
Minister for Public Enterprises
Wiliam Clive Edwards not in Parliament People's Democratic Party
Minister for Revenue Services Feʻaomoeata Vakata People's representative
for Niuas 17
Independent
Minister for Agriculture, Food,
Forests and Fisheries
Sangster Saulala People's representative
for Tongatapu 7
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands
(dissident)

On 2 February 2013, there was another reshuffle. Sifa Tuʻutafaiva, DPFI MP for Tongatapu 6, was appointed Minister for Police, Prisons and Fire Services, and Minister for Revenue Services, his first ministerial appointments. Feʻaomoeata Vakata, until then Minister for Revenue Services, was shuffled to the position of Minister of Public Enterprises, replacing Clive Edwards, who retained his other position as Minister for Justice.[18]

On 9 January 2014, Finance Minister Lisiate ‘Akolo was sacked after publicly criticising aspects of the budget.[19] ʻAisake Eke, Independent MP for Tongatapu 5, was appointed in his place.[20]

Past Cabinets[edit]

Sevele Cabinet[edit]

For the most part, the Cabinet below results from a reshuffle in May 2009, but Teisina Fuko was subsequently appointed Minister for Revenue Services in October, and Samiu Vaipulu became Minister of Justice in November. John Cauchi became Attorney General in May 2009, but resigned in April 2010.[21][22][23][24][25]

Portfolio Minister
Prime Minister,
Minister of Communication,
Mininister of Disaster Relief & Activities,
Mininister of Labour, Commerce, and Industries
Dr. Feleti Sevele
Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister of Health
Dr. Viliami Tangi
Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, and Forestry HSH Prince Tu'ipelehake Viliami Tupoulahi Mailefihi Tuku'aho
Minister of Civil Aviation, Marine, and Ports Paul Karalus
Minister of Defense,
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Feleti Sevele (acting)
Minister of Education, Women's Affairs, and Culture Tevita Hala Palefau
Minister of Finance Siosiua Utoikamanu
Minister of Justice Samiu Vaipulu
Attorney General vacant
Minister of Lands, Survey, Natural Resources, and Environment Siosa'ia Ma'ulupekotofa Tuita
Minister of Police, Fire Services, and Prisons Dr. Viliami Tangi (acting)
Minister of Tourism Fineasi Funaki
Minister of Training, Employment, Youth, and Sports Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano
Minister of Works Nuku
Minister of Information and Communication 'Eseta Fusitu'a
Minister of Revenue Services Teisina Fuko
Governor of Ha'apai Malupo[26]
Governor of Vava'u[27] Sonatane Tu'akinamolahi Taumoepeau Tupou

Source: "Tonga", C.I.A.

External links[edit]

  • Cabinet of Tonga: information on the Tongan government website (page under construction)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tonga profil, United States Department of State
  2. ^ "Tonga PM justifies appointing unelected ministers". Radio New Zealand International. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Editorial: Democracy's day one step closer in Tonga". The New Zealand Herald. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Confusion over Tonga's Democratic Party being in Cabinet", ABC Radio Australia, 6 Jan 2011
  5. ^ "First meeting of Tonga's new Cabinet", Matangi Tonga, 5 Jan 2011
  6. ^ Field, Michael (14 January 2011). "Tonga's democracy campaigner quits". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Democratic Party head resigns as Tongan health minister", Australia Network News, 14 Jan 2011
  8. ^ "Tonga’s PM accepts resignation of Akilisi Pohiva from ministerial post". Radio New Zealand International. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "New Minister of Health", Matangi Tonga, 26 Jan 2011
  10. ^ "Cabinet quietly reshuffles portfolios", Matangi Tonga, September 7, 2011
  11. ^ "Four Cabinet Ministers to be reshuffled on May 1", Matangi Tonga, 20 April 2012
  12. ^ "Tonga government names minsters", Radio New Zealand International, 15 April 2012
  13. ^ "Tonga Prime Minister Defends Cabinet Reshuffle", Radio New Zealand International, 3 May 2012
  14. ^ "Three Cabinet Ministers in Tonga resign ahead of confidence motion", Radio New Zealand International, 25 June 2012
  15. ^ a b "Tonga opposition MP Saulala becomes government minister", Radio New Zealand International, 13 July 2012
  16. ^ "PM's new Cabinet short of ministers", Matangi Tonga, 9 July 2012
  17. ^ "Prime Minister Announced Cabinet for 2013", Matangi Tonga, 10 january 2013
  18. ^ "Sifa Tu'utafaiva, new Minister of Police and Revenue", Matangi Tonga, 4 February 2013
  19. ^ "Tonga's finance minister sacked after defying order to quit", Radio Australia, 9 January 2014
  20. ^ "‘Aisake Eke appointed new Tongan Finance Minister", Islands Business, 14 January 2014
  21. ^ "Tonga cabinet reshuffle", Matangi Tonga, 5 May 2009
  22. ^ "PR Teisina Fuko becomes a Cabinet Minister", Matangi Tonga, 29 Oct 2009
  23. ^ "Samiu Vaipulu, Tonga's new Minister of Justice", Matangi Tonga, 10 Nov 2009
  24. ^ "Tonga's new Attorney General", Matangi Tonga, 2 Jun 2009
  25. ^ "Tongan A-G resigns over government interference", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 30 Apr 2010
  26. ^ "Joyful welcome for "Tu'i Ha'apai"", Matangi Tonga, 14 Aug 2008
  27. ^ "The people of Hunga welcome Indian diplomat", Matangi Tonga, 5 Jul 2008