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Princess warned to stay away from politics after she makes “two-legged devils” comments

A senior Tongan academic has warned Princess Pilolevu not to become involved in partisan politics.

Professor Siosiua Lafitani’s warning came after the Princess made remarks which have been interpreted as an attack on the PTOA.

Princess Salote Pilolevu Mafile’o Tuita

“’Oku ‘ikai toe ha’u ‘a e hou’eiki mo e fale ‘alo ke nau omai ‘o kau ‘i ha Tu pe kau ‘i ha PTOA”, Prof Lafitani said.

In English this translates as “the chiefs and the royals should not join either Tu or PTOA”.

The Princess made the controversial remarks while attending an event organised by a small group of Tongan royalists, who call themselves the Tu Family. The event was streamed online.

Based in Australia, the recently formed group claims their mission was to protect the King and his House.

The attacks also drew personal responses and criticisms from PTOA supporters.

In her speech, the Princess said in Tongan that Tu’s responsibility was “to chase away all the little two- legged devils in all countries.” She asked listeners to forgive people who opposed the Tu family.

In Tongan she said: “Ke tuli ‘a e fanga ki’i tevolo ve’eua kotoa pe he fonua kotoa pe. Fakamolemole fakatangata mo e kakai ‘oku tu’u tau mai ki he famili Tuu”.

Professor Lafitani said the involvement of chiefs or members of the royal family would cause huge damage to the country.

The Professor said the king and the royals were already protected by the constitution and traditional ha’a or clans led by the king’s chiefs and matāpules.

Professor Siosiua Lafitani

The Professor believed the PTOA and Tu were free to operate according to their own agendas, but any involvement of the royals and taking side with any of them was unacceptable.

The PTOA’s online followers said the Princess’s speech was disrespectful because the PTOA had a huge number of followers and its leaders and supporters included top scholars, church minsters and respected community leaders in the kingdom and abroad.

They said the Princess’s speech put her in a position where she could be seen as being prejudiced towards some of her people. This provided an opportunity for the commoners to criticise and personally attacked her. Some said it reminded them of how the princess illegally took the TP$90 million dollar grant from China and used if for her Satellite Company, Tongasat.

The PTOA supporters said their agenda to democratise the government had been approved by the king before the 2010 political reforms. They said the current government was an outcome of their push which dragged on for many years, led by their long-time democratic campaigner, the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva.  They said the Princess should refrain from trying to play down their campaign for more democracy for Tonga because it was for the good of the country as whole.

Princess Pilolevu is the king’s sister and has often acted as regent to the king in his absence. Her husband, Lord Tuita, was one of the king’s nobles. 

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